Facing the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, second-seeded Team Fredette knew it could not afford another slow start in The Basketball Tournament, a $2 million winner-take-all event involving 72 teams across the country.
Leading almost the entire way, the team led by former BYU star Jimmer Fredette rolled to an easier-than-expected 100-78 win over an Ohio State-based team known as Scarlet & Gray in a TBT quarterfinal game at Georgia State University’s Sports Arena in Atlanta.
“We knew a better start [than three previous games] was important, especially against this team,” Fredette said. “We knew that if we got down in a hole, in would be really tough to get back.”
Fredette scored 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting and former Utah Jazz center Jack Cooley added 16 points and eight rebounds as Team Fredette silenced former Buckeyes Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger and Greg Oden.
The victory pushed Team Fredette into the semifinals in Baltimore on Thursday. It will play the winner of Team Challenge ALS and Eberlein Drive at The Fieldhouse on the campus of Morgan State University.
Team Fredette took a 21-17 lead into the second quarter after Jimmer made a jumper to beat the first-quarter buzzer, and had a 51-40 lead at halftime.
The BYU-based team that also features former Cougars Brandon Davies and Charles Abouo led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
“We played together and shared the ball,” Fredette told ESPN. “That’s what we try to do. We got all these guys for a reason. These guys can play.”
Cooley was a late addition to the team, first joining it for a Super 16 game last Friday.
“We controlled the whole game,” Fredette said. “Jack down low, Brandon down low, [they] controlled the boards, got out in transition, and were able to make shots. … It was a whole team effort.”