LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - With the temperature 23-below outside, Jimmer Fredette and Brigham Young broke the ice inside when it counted most to lead the No. 8 Cougars over Wyoming.
Fredette converted a key three-point play with 47 seconds left as BYU survived Wyoming 69-62 on Wednesday night despite the Cougars being held to 40.7 percent shooting from the field and well below its team scoring average of 84.9 points.
``We didn't shoot the ball as well as we wanted to and didn't play as well as we wanted to,' said Fredette, who shot 7 for 21 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3-point range. ``But ... they were prepared for us, and we were just able to get a win and that's what we came down to do.'
Fredette, who entered the game leading the NCAA with a 27.6 per game scoring average, scored 26 points and Brandon Davies had 20 to lead BYU (21-2, 7-1 Mountain West).
``Wyoming did a great job attacking his penetration lanes all night long,' BYU coach Dave Rose said. ``I thought we did a much better job of getting space for him and spreading out the floor a little bit, and Jimmer just made a great play.'
After the Cowboys closed to 64-62 on two free throws by Djibril Thiam with 29 seconds to go, Davies, who also pulled down nine rebounds, converted his own three-point play 12 seconds later for a 67-62 lead.
Fredette then finished off the scoring with a pair of free throws.
Jackson Emery added 12 points for the Cougars, who shot 5-of-24, 21 percent, from 3.
``Defensively they did such a great job challenging our 3-point shots,' Rose said.
Desmar Jackson led Wyoming (8-14, 1-7) with 23 points, while Francisco Cruz added 16 points and nine rebounds. The Cowboys, who shot 41 percent from the field, lost their sixth straight game and 12th in a row to the Cougars.
``I told our guys that we had to keep the mentality of playing to win,' Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said. ``We didn't want to fall into a situation where we were playing not to lose, and our kids did a great job of maintaining that attitude to the end.'
The teams were tied 28-all at halftime, with Fredette scoring 11 points after starting the game 0-4 from the field. His first points came on a 3-pointer at the 10:45 mark. Meantime, Jackson paced the Cowboys with 10 points.
BYU built a pair of 10-point leads in the second half - the biggest lead for either team during the game - going ahead 61-51 with 5:31 remaining on a tip-in by Davies.
But the Cougars went cold with Fredette and Davies missing layups and free throws while Wyoming chipped away at the BYU lead. Jackson capped a 9-0 run with a free throw at the 2:05 mark to pull the Cowboys within a point.
But Wyoming missed two chances to take the lead when Jackson and Thiam both stepped out of bounds on back-to-back possessions before Fredette ended the BYU scoring drought with driving underhanded layup off the glass that also drew a foul for his three-point play.
Rose said he felt lucky to get out of cold Laramie with a win.
``But sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky to keep going,' he said.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved