December 30, 2010 - 6:57 PM
BYU 90, UB 82 . All bow to Jimmer Fredette. 32 points after just six at the half. Yeah, he gets every break imagineable. But he's earned it. Smart move turning down football scholarship to Penn State. Mulkey, McCrea and Watt all solid for Bulls. Can't wait to see how McCrea progresses over next three years. Attendance: 5803-- about 300 shy of capacity.
6:57 p.m. We're about 10 minutes before tipoff and a nice crowd has filed in. People sitting top row across from the press table. Nice to see. It's not often a top-20 team comes to town with a pre-season All-American -- who doubles as the natiion's fifth-leading scorer -- in the lineup.
Bulls are 10-point underdogs but the growing crowd could be a bigger factor than expected considering the students are on break. Bulls received and granted requests for more than 350 tickets from 18 local high school programs.
We've seen at least five NBA scouts in the building to assess BYU guard Jimmer Fredette.
UB: Byron Mulkey, Zach Filzen, Mitchell Watt, Dave Barnett, Titus Robinson.
BYU: Brandon Davies, Charles Abouo, Kyle Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Noah Hartsock. Cougars go 6-5 (Abouo), 6-8 (Hartsock) and 6-9 (Davies) across the front line. Collinsworth is 6-6, Fredette 6-2.
Decent Glens Falls representation on hand (it's Fredette's hometown).
15:52: BYU 46-41. Fredette warming up. He has four of BYU's seven. Officials treat him like he's a god. Mulkey picked up second on questiionable charge. But UB can't be turning the ball over the complaining. Alston out with four fouls. UB baskets have come from Watt (a half-opening jam) and Alston.
14:47: BYU 49-41: Turnovers plaguing UB. Witherspoon calls time after Fredette hits layup off Bulls miscue. Bulls again trying to play faster than they're capable. And faster than game warrants. Too many rushed shots and forced passes.
11:54 BYU 54-51: UB on 10-2 run with Mulkey scoring eight of them. He drew a foul from Fredette in converting a conventiional three-point play, nailed one from behind the arc and then scored off an inbounds ball when he bounced the inbounds pass off a Cougar defender. Mulkey up to 14, Fredette 15. Hartsock still stuck on 15. Hasn't attempted shot in half.
7:45 BYU 68-60. Fredette's the real deal but this officiating crew is laughable. Might as well be playing in Provo. I mean, I know they protect the nation's top teams but this is extreme. But back to Fredette. He's up to 24. What a show. He had six at half. Killing Bulls on penetration (six assists) and can pull up from anywhere. Crossover stutterstep move for fast-break layup a gem.
3:14: BYU 80-72: Fredette's better than the No. 4 at Jonny C's. Just hit step-back jumper off screen and has 26. UB's problem: 19 turnovers. Mulkey having great game with 16 points, eight assists. But it's like a Gilbert Perreault hat trick the night Gretzky scored three to break single-season goal record. Secondary stuff.
15:36: BYU out to 10-3 lead. UB just missed four shots on its last possession.
13:50: First media timeout arrives with Cougars ahead, 16-5. Noah Hartsock is killing Bulls from the perimeter. He's hit a three from the right baseline, the left baseline and the wing and has 11 points -- two above his per-game average. Bulls extremely jittery on the offensive end and playing too quick for themselves. UB just 2-11 on FGA.
11:48: Hartsock up to 13 but Bulls have cut deficit to 18-9. Mulkey hit layup off steal and Watt struck inside. Fredette still scoreless and has forced a couple of his 5 FGA. Hartsock 5 of 6 FG and perfect on 3 treys.
5:22: BYU time out as Bulls run off 10 straight to tie it at 25. Place is going nuts and it has to be close to a sellout. Can't see many empty seats. Javon McCrea's struck for eight and Filzen just nailed a pair of threes. Bulls settling in. McCrea's amazing. Just lets game come to him. Totally at ease in the 11th game of his career and first against a major foe. Cougars bothered by UB defense and ability to rotate four in low post. BYU 8 of 26 from field, UB 11 of 24.
3:25: BYU 30, UB 27: Watt picks up second foul needlessly, hammering Rogers on perimeter. He makes one of three FT. Cougars go up 30-25 before McCrea scores again inside. He has 10. Fredette taking breather since last media TO. Bulls 12-26, Cougars 10-28. Bulls winning boards 19-18.
Halftime: BYU 39-37. Bulls score last six points of half and leave to standing O. Fredette has been decidedly ordinary. But there's 20 mnutes left. UB 16 of 30, BYU 13 of 34. McCrea has 10, Hartsock 15. Rebounds 20-20. Bulls with 11 turnovers to Cougars' 7. Fredette 1 of 9 from field, 1 of 6 from three. He has four assists and two turnovers. Alston has three fouls for Bulls, Watt and Robinson two apiece. Abouo and Kyle Collinsworth have two for Cougars.
-- Bob DiCesare