Jerami Grant had a career-high 13, and Dajuan Coleman had six points as Syracuse's freshmen had important contributions after hardly playing at Providence on Wednesday night. Michael Carter-Williams finished with 10 points and seven assists, and Brandon Triche had 10 points.
JayVaughn Pinkston led Villanova with 12 points and Mouphtaou Yarou had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Ryan Arcidiacono had seven points but missed six of seven shots from behind the arc. Villanova shot 5 of 23 from long range.
Syracuse trailed for much of the first half. After Triche was called for his fourth foul with 16 minutes, 26 seconds left in the second half, the Orange were without their top two scorers when he sat down on the bench not far from Southerland.
Fair, who entered the game with three double-doubles in the previous four games, became the go-to guy for Syracuse, scoring 11 of the Orange's first 15 points of the period. He broke a 34-34 tie with a midrange jumper just before Triche's fourth foul, then converted a floater in the lane and sank two free throws to give Syracuse a 40-34 lead at 13:46.
After Arcidiacono scored from the wing, Carter-Williams passed to Coleman for a basket off the glass after a pretty fake underneath to keep the Syracuse lead at six.
The crowd of 27,586, the largest of the season in the Carrier Dome, then got loud as Syracuse went on a 15-4 run to gain a 14-point cushion.
Coleman started the surge with a two-handed slam dunk, and Cooney finished it with two 3-pointers in a 44-second span, giving Syracuse a 61-47 lead with 5:48 left.