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Fredette dominates, as usual
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the entire student section at the Marriott Center began what has become a familiar chant this season.
"You got Jim-mered.”
"You got Jim-mered.”
Then, after the buzzer sounded, the BYU fans swarmed Jimmer Fredette as if he were a rock star.
"It was a little crazy,” Fredette said. "A cool experience. I've never had something like that happen before. It was great, but a little scary.”
You want fear? Try having to try to contain The Jimmer.
In a game that had as much anticipation as any thus far this college basketball campaign, it quickly turned into the Jimmer Fredette Show.
It's basically been re-run all season.
BYU's senior guard put 43 on the board in a 71-58 win over No. 4 San Diego State, one of the final two unbeaten teams left in the country.
"He's a special player,” said Aztecs coach Steve Fisher, who knows a thing or two about special players, having coached the Fab Five at Michigan back in the day. "You don't want to say that you haven't seen anyone that's better, but he's a phenomenal player.”
The Jimmer did it all Wednesday night — and did it with virtually all the eyes of college basketball watching.
He made shots from beyond the arc, which is what everyone has come to expect from Fredette, but he does much more than just knock down perimeter shots; he finds a variety of ways to get to the basket despite not being the most athletic guy on the court.
"Nothing surprises us anymore,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Except when he doesn't score.”
One of Fredette's primary competitors for National Player of the Year honors, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, was tweeting about Fredette's uncanny ability to put the ball in the basket. NBA star Kevin Durant, who played against Fredette this past summer in Las Vegas, even tweeted that he was the “best scorer in the world.”
"I would disagree with him. He's the best scorer in the world,” Fredette laughed when he heard Durant's message.
But Fredette has no peer in the college ranks these days, averaging a nation-leading 27.4 points.
This was the game you couldn't miss so far this season.
Not Duke vs. North Carolina.
Not Kentucky against Louisville.
This matchup boasted one of the two remaining unbeaten teams remaining against the nation's top scorer and a National Player of the Year candidate.
It was the first-ever Mountain West matchup of Top 10 teams. San Diego State came in at No. 4 while BYU checked in at No. 9.
And remarkably, it was played in Provo, Utah, between a pair of Mountain West teams.
"Whoever would have thought that we'd be playing a league game ranked ninth in the country and the team we were playing against was ranked five spots ahead of us,” Rose said. "I never would have imagined it.”
Fredette led BYU, which improved to 19-1 with the win, to its first victory over a Top 5 team since 1965. Not even Cougars legend Danny Ainge was able to pull that off.
Fredette doesn't look the part. He's 6-foot-2 on a good day with floppy hair and boyish looks.
But he's a killer on the court.
He snapped San Diego State's 20-game winning streak by going 14 of 24 from the field, 5 of 8 from deep and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. While he attempted to deflect much of the credit to his teammates, this is the Jimmer Show.
Stop Jimmer and the Cougars are in trouble.
But it's much easier said than done.
"I honestly don't know what you do,” San Diego State senior forward Malcolm Thomas said after the game. "He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, and he can go by you. It's hard to say what to do to stop him because he can do it all.”
Fredette put up his third 40-plus-point performance in the past four games, yet there are still many that question him.
This was a San Diego State team that was all too familiar with his exploits as Fredette averaged 29.5 points in two games — both BYU victories — last season. Yet the Aztecs still couldn't do anything about it.
Arizona watched him put up 49 in Tucson a year ago, and the Wildcats were certainly looking for redemption this time around in Salt Lake City. All Fredette did was put up 33 on Sean Miller's team.
"The majority of the media is from the East Coast and they might see Jimmer on occasion,” Rose said. "If you watch him day in and day out, their opinions would change. You just don't see guys do what he's been doing.”
It doesn't matter what opponents do. Long and athletic defenders may slow him down, but he'll still wind up getting his points. Double-team him and he either splits the double or finds one of his anonymous teammates. Throw a box-and-one on him.
It doesn't matter.
"If people watched him night after night, they'd change their minds,” Rose said.
All it took was one night.
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