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Had BYU charged admission, I would be saying the Cougars gave the fans their money's worth during Wednesday night's annual "Cougar Tipoff."
As the event was free to the public, I'll just say the fans on hand were treated to an extremely entertaining exhibition that showcased the depth and competitive spirit that should justify the Cougars' selection as the team to beat in the Mountain West Conference.
Jimmer Fredette hit the game-winning 12-footer as the final horn sounded at the Marriott Center, giving the Blues a 66-64 win over the Whites, capping a comeback from nine points down early in the second half.
Fredette paced the Blues with a game-high 22 points on 7/13 shooting, adding a game-high five assists and a team-high three steals. Both teams shot the ball well, with the Blues hitting on 59% from the field--the Whites hitting on 52%.
The Whites were led by 14 points apiece from Jonathan Tavernari (6/13 fg, 2/4 3pfg) and Jackson Emery (5/11 fg, 2/4 3pfg). Tavernari pulled down a game-high six rebounds, with two assists and two steals, while Emery had a tremendous overall line, adding five rebounds, four assists and a game-high five steals to his point total.
You can hear postgame press conference interviews with Coach Dave Rose and Fredette by clicking on their respective audio links in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the lower right.
In a game freshman Tyler Haws missed with a knee injury, fellow rookie Brandon Davies had moments of brilliance, scoring six points (including two on a rim-rattling baseline throwdown), while adding two rebounds, three helpers and a steal.
Newcomer Logan Magnusson chipped in with six points on a pair of three pointers, while returned missionary Brock Zylstra also added six points.
In all, BYU had seven players score in double figures, with Fredette, Tavernari and Emery joined by Charles Abouo (16), Chris Miles (13), Noah Hartsock (13) and James Anderson (10).
The coaches did a nice job of picking even teams, the rosters for which remained the same throughout the game. Neither team got out to a double-digit lead at any point, and both teams dug themselves out of deficits.
Rebounds were all but even (24-22 in the Whites' favor), as were most other stat categories on the night. In short, it was the kind of game you get with a squad this balanced and and deep, and Coach Rose has to be as excited as ever about this team's prospects.
BYU's exhibition season opens a week from Thursday, with Trinity Western (Langley, BC) visiting Provo. The game will be carried on the ksl.com X-Stream audio channel.