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Fredette's 29 leads No. 9 BYU past UNLV

By Lynn Debruin, Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- BYU's Jimmer Fredette didn't hear the pre-game trash talk ripping him as a one-man show who won't pass the ball.

Afterward, he didn't care.

With plenty of help from his teammates, Fredette and the No. 9 Cougars shut up TreVon Willis and UNLV with a 78-64 victory Saturday that gave BYU the regular-season sweep.

"At this point, it doesn't matter what he says. I was just worried about getting the victory," said Fredette, who became the Mountain West Conference career scoring leader, breaking the mark of 2,189 points set by San Diego State's Brandon Heath in 2007. Fredette now has 2,194.

Despite battling a head cold that left him struggling to breathe, and double- and triple-teams that forced him to give up the ball and turn it over five times, Fredette still scored 29 points. He was a team-record 16 of 16 from the foul line, but just 6 of 14 from the field.

"He earned his points," BYU coach Dave Rose said of Fredette, who also had seven assists.


BYU (22-2, 8-1) halted a three-game winning streak by UNLV (17-6, 5-4), which got 16 points from Anthony Marshall and 15 from Willis.

Jackson Emery added 15 points, including a pair of late 3-pointers, while Stephen Rogers came up big off the bench with 12 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes for the Cougars. Charles Abouo added 10 points, while Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsoch each had three blocks.

"The bench was huge and in my opinion the key to the game," Fredette said.

The game between fierce rivals was scrappy from the beginning, with two technicals assessed in the first half and a big pile up on the floor that had tempers flaring and fists flying.

There were 36 personal fouls called overall.

Forward Carlos Lopez was assessed the first technical during the scrum for a loose ball with 13:50 left in the first half, and forward Quintrell Thomas picked up UNLV's second about a minute later after protesting a foul against Collinsworth while going for an offensive rebound.

"Early on we started to pay a little too much attention to the calls being made," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said of the calls during an 11-0 BYU run. "I think it distracted us a bit and after the technicals it took us a bit to get our head back in the game."

BYU lost two players to injury -- starter Kyle Collinsworth sustained a mild concussion after going down hard trying to grab a rebound, and James Anderson mildly separated his shoulder.

The Rebels pulled within 20-17 on three 3-pointers, including two by Willis, only to have BYU go on another run. Emery started it with a 3-pointer, Rogers added a steal and fastbreak layup, and Abouo's reverse layup made it 27-17 with 6:10 left in the half. A 3-pointer by Rogers increased BYU's lead to 30-19 with 4:10 remaining in the half.

The Rebels shot just 25.8 percent in the first half (8 of 31) but stayed within striking distance with a 24-16 edge on the boards, including 11-4 on the offensive end.

"We were getting after the shooters," Emery said. "We didn't finish. We got them to miss but they had (11) offensive rebounds at halftime. It doesn't matter if you play good defense for 30 seconds if you don't finish."

BYU led 38-27 at halftime and pushed the lead to 66-51 after Emery's 3-pointer. Chace Stanback's 3 pulled UNLV within 69-57 with 4:52 left, but that's as close as UNLV got.

Afterward, Willis admitted the up-and-down season has been frustrating.

"We know we can play better. We just got to prove it on the court," he said.

Earlier in the week, Willis took a shot at Fredette, the nation's leading scorer.

"What people don't realize is he don't want to pass the ball. He don't want to get no assists," Willis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "He wants to shoot the ball every single time. If you think he wants to pass it, then you're wrong."

Fredette, with so many hands in his face and bodies around him, was forced to pass plenty.

"Every screen we set for Jimmer, they doubled it, then they cover space really well," Rose said.

Fredette, who has been getting lots of national media attention lately, knows it will be this way the rest of the season.

"They're going to come after him, say stuff, try to get in his head," Emry said. "When you can't stop a guy as good as Jimmer, you're going to get in his head. He's so good at finding his teammates. That's what makes us a tough team. Jimmer is a huge part of that, but the reason we'll go far in the nation is the rest of the guys."

Willis, who somewhat downplayed his animosity toward Fredette by saying he prefers not to shake anyone's hand before a game, was just hopeful at getting one more shot at Fredette in the conference tournament.

"That would be great," Willis said. "We lost two. It'd be great to get a third one, get another chance."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Lynn Debruin


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