Jimmer Fredette’s stay in the $2 million winner-take-all basketball tournament was almost a short one.
However, Team Fredette, which also features former BYU stars Brandon Davies and Charles Abouo, rallied from a first-quarter deficit and defeated the upset-minded Peoria All-Stars 88-80 at The Capital Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Team Fredette, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional, will play a second-round game Sunday at 10 a.m. MDT against the winner of No. 7 Zoo Crew and No. 10 Jackson (Tenn.) Underdawgs. The game will be on ESPN.
Fredette was 9 for 17 from the field and 11 for 11 from the free-throw line to lead all scorers with 32 points after scoring two points in the first quarter. Peoria, which survived a play-in game Friday night, led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter but faded in the fourth.
Davies added 21 points and eight rebounds on 7 of 12 shooting and Abouo — Fredette’s roommate all four years at BYU — chipped in three points and three rebounds.
“It was a great effort by the Peoria team,” Fredette said. “I give them all the credit in the world.”
Fredette was playing in his first meaningful game since wrapping up his second season as a member of the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He made a 40-footer in the second quarter — reminiscent of many of his long-range shots at BYU — to get going and loosen up Peoria’s defense.
“It is great to be playing for a U.S. crowd once again,” Fredette said.
While Fredette and Davies carried their team in the middle quarters, Ra’Shad James took over in the fourth and hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Team Fredette a lead it would not relinquish. He finished with 13 points.