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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:15 pm

Mad Ants benefit from play of C.J. Fair

Chris Goff/The Journal Gazette

After the Mad Ants' 111-91 win over Erie at Memorial Coliseum, two men in Syracuse garb waited near the tunnel that leads to Fort Wayne's locker room, hoping to see former Orange star C.J. Fair up close and personal.

Fair had already showed them plenty on the court Saturday night, registering 21 points and four steals off the bench. His athleticism has always been a major plus, but to play in the NBA he'll need to polish off his shooting stroke and ball skills, as well as his man-to-man defense. Those areas seem to be where Fair has progressed.

"C.J.'s getting better every day," Mad Ants star Andre Emmett said. "He's been working hard, man. After practice he's been staying and just working on his game. You can see it. You can see it in his shot. You can see it in his decision-making. We're just looking for him to keep getting better."

As a left-hander, it seemed Fair preferred shooting from the left corner and driving from the left wing against the Bayhawks, but the balance in his game was striking. Fort Wayne coach Conner Henry said Fair has cleared his mind of late.

"He knows our structure and what we're trying to accomplish in certain spots," Henry said. "He's being aggressive to string some games together."

With Fair and Emmett at their best, there was plenty of offense to go around, as the Mad Ants shot 52 percent from the field and hit 13 of 19 free throws to improve to 10-10 through 20 games.

Gary Talton had 11 points and five assists for Fort Wayne, Dahntay Jones scored 12, Ramon Harris added 13 points and five rebounds to the cause, and Will Frisby had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.