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BYU flexes muscles against talented, but over-matched Arizona team

BYU flexes muscles against talented, but over-matched Arizona team

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PROVO -- The Arizona Wildcats (8-2) didn't know what hit them... again.

It wasn't an exact repeat of last year's game in Tucson, but it was pretty close. The No. 16/18 BYU Cougars (10-0) came out firing, led by senior All-American point guard Jimmer Fredette, and never lost the lead inside the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

"It was a very important game for us to show them that we're for real and that we're ready to play," Fredette said. "They are a very talented team and they'll do well in the Pac-10 this year. We knew we would have to give our best efforts to win."

The Cougar's best effort included shooting 51.8 percent from the field and causing 15 turnovers. They also won the rebounding battle 38-34.

"We can play with anyone if we play like we did (Saturday)," sophomore forward Brandon Davies said. "Everyone was sharing the ball, everyone contributed in some way or another. If we keep playing like that, we're going to be pretty hard to beat."

The game Saturday evening was one of the most physical games the Cougars have played in so far this season. At one point, junior forward Noah Hartsock had to be escorted off the court because he got knocked around. An unintentional elbow to the chin gave Hartsock a concussion and some bleeding in the mouth.

"Coach (Dave Rose) told us before the game it was going to come down to who plays the hardest and who is tougher," Davies said. "When Noah went down, that kinda fired us all up."

Not that they needed any more fire behind them.

The Cougars were able to control the Wildcats' star forward Derrick Williams to only three points in the second half, and 13 total points. This alone is a big accomplishment for the Cougar frontcourt.

"They're a great team. They are big, strong, physical and athletic," junior forward James Andersen said referring to the Wildcats. "It was a big win for us."

"It's a good team win and we can build on it," Rose said. "We have a couple days off for finals and look forward to next Saturday."

The Cougars now have a week to prepare for their game against the UCLA Bruins. They will be playing on a neutral court in Anaheim, California.

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Matt Hopkins


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