UNLV-BYU Preview

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

It's been seven years since BYU swept a regular-season series from UNLV.

Another big effort from Jimmer Fredette against the Rebels, and the eighth-ranked Cougars should have a good chance to accomplish that feat Saturday afternoon in a Mountain West matchup in Provo, Utah.

The nation's leading scorer at 27.6 points per game, Fredette scored 39 to help BYU overcome a pair of 10-point deficits and snap an eight-game road skid to then-No. 25 UNLV with an 89-77 victory Jan. 5.

Fredette called it "one of the best wins we had in a long time."

UNLV coach Lon Kruger was more straight to point.

"BYU played great and kicked our tails," Kruger said.

That victory put BYU (21-2, 7-1) in position to beat the Rebels twice in the regular season for the first time since 2003-04.

Though Fredette has totaled 69 points his last two games versus UNLV, he's scored a combined 35 in three career home games against the Rebels. He was held to seven on 2-of-10 shooting in the teams' last meeting at Provo, a 77-73 Cougars' victory Jan. 6, 2010.

BYU, however, had enough to overcome Fredette's poor offensive effort to earn its fourth win in five home games against the Rebels.

With history in their favor, the Cougars could have even more momentum heading into this contest after Fredette converted a key 3-point play with 47 seconds to help BYU leave Wyoming with a 69-62 win Wednesday.

Fredette finished with 26 points on just 7-of-21 shooting as the Cougars overcome 40.7 percent shooting and their lowest-scoring game of the season to bounce back from an 86-77 loss at New Mexico last Saturday.

BYU is tied with San Diego State atop the Mountain West standings.

"Sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky to keep going,'' BYU coach Dave Rose said after his team was held well below its scoring average of 83.5 points.

Despite his own rough shooting night, Fredette's teammates continue to marvel at their star's ability to come through in the clutch.

"It's hard to believe Jimmer has been doing that all year," BYU swingman Charles Abouo told the school's official website. "Some guys will play well in one game but will not play as well in the next game. With Jimmer it's every game. When he makes a great play one game, he forgets about it and comes back ready to do it again in the next game. That's his approach and it's great to have a guy like that on your team."

Though UNLV has struggled at BYU of late, the Rebels have the motivation to avenge last month's loss while trying for a fourth straight victory overall.

Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas had 15 points with 16 rebounds, and Carlos Lopez added 14 points off the bench as the Rebels held Utah to 29.8 percent shooting from the field in Wednesday's 67-54 home victory.

Thomas, who went scoreless in five minutes against the Cougars earlier this season, has totaled 25 points and 23 rebounds the last two games since joining the starting lineup.

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