It wasn't pretty, but the Cougars weren't about to give it back -- even if Weber State played without its superstar guard, Damian Lillard.
BYU survived the Wildcats 72-66 here tonight in front of 10,453 fans at the Dee Events Center, but were not impressive.
Despite leading by 17 points in the first half and 16 in the second, the Cougars had to hold on down the stretch. Weber State had the ball down five points in the final minute, but came up empty on back-to-back possessions.
With 43 seconds left, Jimmer Fredette appeared to have put the game away with a driving layup. But he was called for an offensive foul, and the Wildcats had a chance.
Jackson Emery made a free throw after the Wildcats' 16th turnover, though, and Fredette iced it with two free throws with 11 seconds left.
"Well, I am really pleased with how hard we competed," coach Dave Rose said. "I thought our players, with the kind of tough swing we have been through, we played really hard and competed, especially at real opportune times in the game and were really able to come up with a really good win."
Fredette led all scorers with 28 points. Oddly, he didn't go to the free-throw line until late in the game, and was just 3-for-3 there. He was 10 for 23 from the field.
Several times in the postgame news conference, Rose mentioned that he felt the Cougars looked tired. He said that's why he took a timeout after a Fredette three-pointer. The trey with 13:50 remaining gave BYU a 46-37 lead, but it came after a WSU miss from three-point range that would have gotten the Cats to within three points.
"I thought we got good shots. We had a hard time hitting them. The reason for that is that is how it is some nights.......[Weber's zone defense] did throw us off our rhythm a little bit. We will normally hit a lot of those open shots we got, and tonight we just had to find a way to win, and we did," Rose said.
The stats were pretty even: Both teams shot 37 percent; Both teams got 41 rebounds. The Wildcats had 16 turnovers, the Cougars just nine.
"We had chances to put the game away early, but just didn't," Fredette said. "You gotta give a lot of credit to Weber State. They came to play."
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