C.J. Fair has been solid over the first two games, but the Orange largely won with other players making big contributions. In the Maui Invitational championship game, he was the difference in the outcome as he took home MVP honors.
Indeed he did. Syracuse got out to a hot start, and seemed to be in control throughout. But Baylor would not go away. The Bears had made a habit of coming back from large deficits in this tournament, but Fair would not let them do that three nights in a row.
Clutch mid-range jumpers was the theme every time Baylor would creep back into the game. Fair hit one from the baseline, the free-throw line, and even the elbow. It was a classic C.J. Fair type of performance.
"I started the game hot," Fair told Bilas after the game. "Then I went a little cold. Once I seen my teammates, they looked at me and needed me to score. That gave me confidence from there and I saw a couple of my shots go in."
It lacked razzle dazzle. It was not flashy. It was good, old fashioned, solid basketball with jumpers finding the bottom of the net. Fair came off screens, created his own shot and hit off the dribble.
"It's all about confidence with shooters," Fair said. "You have to have confidence in yourself. It was there when I made my first two threes and that kind of got me going."
In total, Fair finished with 24 points on 10-17 shooting, including 2-3 from beyond the arc. The senior forward stepped up when the Orange needed him the most as he led Syracuse to the title.