Provo » Jonathan Tavernari and Michael Loyd Jr . played high school basketball in Las Vegas, so BYU's games with UNLV always carry extra significance for those two Cougars.
They ensured their memories of playing hoops against the Rebels would be positive after Wednesday night, as both made critical plays down the stretch to help No. 25 BYU down UNLV 77-73 at the Marriott Center.
"A little bit more [special], yes," Loyd said, after scoring seven points on 3-for-5 shooting. "Just because I am from there, so that's always a plus, or something, that adds to the game."
Loyd made a big three-pointer with 13 minutes remaining to cut UNLV's lead to three.
His driving layup with 1:38 remaining gave the Cougars a 73-71 lead they would not relinquish.
Tavernari, meanwhile, played perhaps his best overall game of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 30 minutes.
In his first game back since scoring 49 points against Arizona, Jimmer Fredette wore a white, long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. Coach Dave Rose said Fredette had to wear the undershirt because he had an allergic reaction to some medication he took after contracting strep throat last week. Fredette's first two shots were blocked before he drilled a three-pointer in the face of UNLV guard Oscar Bellfield. He was 1-for-8 in the first half with two turnovers, and also struggled to get back on defense several times.
"Jimmer was tired early," Rose said.
Tavernari made a season-high four three-pointers, and now has 226 treys in his career, an ongoing BYU record. The senior also passed Dick Nemelka for 18th on BYU's all-time scoring list and now has scored 1,314 career points. ... Fredette passed Mel Hutchins and Bruce Burton for 35th on the list and now has 1,090 career points. ... It was the 100th win in MWC play for BYU.