PROVO, Utah (AP) - BYU is inching closer to a conference title, and it came with a few bumps and bruises.
Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points and Brandon Davies added 14 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 7 BYU over Colorado State 84-76 on Wednesday night.
Fredette and Davies combined to score 26 points from the free throw line in a rough game that featured 53 fouls and 69 free throws. Fredette hit 14 of 16, while Davies was 12 of 16 from the line.
The victory sets up Saturday's showdown against No. 6 San Diego State with the Mountain West Conference title at stake.
``The game was exactly how we thought it would play out as far as how physical it was and how competitive it was,' BYU coach Dave Rose said. ``Both teams played with a lot of emotion.'
The Cougars (26-2, 12-1) took a 14-point lead midway through the first half before the Rams (18-9, 8-5) trimmed the lead to 44-36 at halftime.
Andy Ogide had 25 points and eight rebounds, and Adam Nigon added 14 points for CSU, including four 3-pointers.
Colorado State opened the second half on a 10-4 run to cut BYU's lead to 48-46, but the Rams failed to score on the next five possessions and never got closer than four.
``I love our guys' effort,' CSU coach Tim Miles said. ``We went out there and battled and battled.'
BYU won despite turning the ball over 19 times and shooting only 39 percent from the floor.
``What you really worry about is trying to win. I was pleased with the fact that we made a few plays down the stretch and were able to win the game ... I thought our effort was terrific and I thought we played really hard,' Rose said.
The difference in the game came at the charity stripe. The Cougars outscored the Rams 35-17 from the line and shot 29 second-half free throws to only nine for CSU.
Another big key for the Cougars was their work on the boards, where they outrebounded the Rams 48-29, including an 18-8 advantage on the offensive boards. However, Miles wasn't blaming the officiating for the big discrepancies in foul shots and rebounding.
``I think both were a byproduct of us extending our defense against Jimmer. When you get extended you are often vulnerable to fouls and rebounds,' the Rams coach said.
In the first 7 minutes, there were five ties and four lead changes before the Cougars went on a 14-0 run to take a 27-13 lead. Jackson Emery started the run with a long 3-pointer and Fredette had a rare four-point play in the stretch.
``They'd throw some guys at me and try to keep me off balance, so I had to stay aggressive and keep playing my game,' Fredette said of his 14 trips to the line.
But the Cougars never could pull away and had nine first-half turnovers. The Rams capitalized and cut BYU's lead to 44-36 at the half with the help of 14-of-17 shooting from the free throw line.
BYU got a little separation from the Rams when a scoop by Fredette, a jumper by Charles Abouo and tip by Noah Hartsock pushed the lead to 69-56.
The Rams responded once again behind the long-range shooting of Nigon and inside scoring of Ogide to cut the lead to 72-67 with 5:38 to play. The Rams never got closer and the Cougars held on, mainly by going to the line, and widened their lead to nine points three separate times down the stretch.
``A team that's desperate is a team that's dangerous, and we knew they were going to fight back every time we hit them with a good run,' Fredette said.
When Fredette hit a 3-pointer midway through the first half, he passed Jonathan Tavernari for BYU's all-time single-season mark for made 3-pointers with 89. He also moved into third place on the school's all-time scoring list with 2,299 points.
The Associated Press News Service
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