Fredette's 43 help Cougars end SDSU's unbeaten season
Provo • The BYU Cougars looked like a one-man team in the first 27 minutes of Wednesday's epic college basketball showdown against No. 4 San Diego State, and a potential conference championship team perhaps even more in the final 13.
It took all that and more, but No. 9 BYU eventually rolled past the previously undefeated Aztecs 71-58 at the Marriott Center, taking the Mountain West Conference lead while improving 20-1 overall and ending SDSU's 20-game winning streak.
"We made a few more plays than they did, and that's what it took," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That was quite a game."
With a lot of national media types in attendance, National Player of the Year candidate Jimmer Fredette led the Cougars with 43 points the fifth time he's surpassed the 40-point mark in his career in front a national television audience and a sellout crowd of 22,700.
BYU students stormed the court at the game's conclusion to celebrate the win, then made it difficult for the superstar to make his way off the court, many reaching out just to touch their hero.
"It was great to see, but it was a little scary," Fredette said with a laugh.
San Diego State's star, Kawhi Leonard, also had a phenomenal game, scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in 36 minutes despite playing ill. The sophomore was vomiting in the locker room and needed an IV to get enough energy for the opening tip, then had an astounding nine offensive rebounds, part of SDSU's 18 on that end.
"I am really impressed with coach [Steve] Fisher's team," Rose said. "They had 18 offensive rebounds, but they could have had 30."
Fredette scored 20 of BYU's 30 first-half points, then continued his pace into the second half before the rest of his teammates, including senior backcourt running mate Jackson Emery, finally got going.
"You got Jimmered," the crowd roared in the final minutes during a timeout. Rose took Fredette out of the game with 21 seconds remaining to a standing ovation.
The crowd was at its loudest when Emery finally got on the scoreboard, turning a steal into a fast-break dunk with a little more than 12 minutes left to give the Cougars a 52-46 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The steal came after Fredette beat the shot clock with an off-balance 3-pointer.
"If there's a better [college basketball crowd] in the country, I would like to see it," Rose said.
The Aztecs opted to put a big man on Fredette Billy White, mostly and he went from the 12:29 mark to the 3:30 mark without scoring.
The Cougars survived Fredette's scoring drought, however, because James Anderson, Noah Hartsock and Emery made important baskets. Brandon Davies was the only other Cougar to score more than six points, adding 14 and five rebounds while fighting the usual foul-trouble battle.
Rose said the play of the game was made not by Fredette but by Hartsock, who took the ball to the basket and got a goaltending call to push BYU's lead to 56-49 with about eight minutes left.
"That is a really good team we just played," SDSU's Fisher said. "They are led by as good a player as I have ever coached against. [Fredette] is sensational and extremely hard to guard."
It was Fredette's highest-scoring game at the Marriott Center, but only the fourth highest of his career.
But he said the key to BYU's win was the play of its big guys and how his teammates took control when he went through the second-half scoring drought.
"During that midpart [of the second half], it wasn't me at all," he said.
Next up for BYU is a game at New Mexico on Saturday, the Cougars' last trip to the famed Pit in Albuquerque.
R IN SHORT • No. 9 BYU runs past No. 4 San Diego State in front of a sellout crowd and national television audience at the Marriott Center.
KEY MOMENT • Jimmer Fredette goes nine minutes without scoring in the second half, but the Cougars stretch their lead during the drought.
KEY STAT • Fredette scores 43 on 14 for 24 from the field and 10 for 11 at the free-throw line.
O For a photo gallery of the BYU-San Diego State game, visit