Jan. 5th, 2011
LAS VEGAS -- Jimmer Fredette finally has a nice memory from a visit to UNLV.
After his team lost eight straight to the Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center, Fredette finally helped Brigham Young end the skid.
He scored 39 and lifted the Cougars (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) to an 89-77 win over UNLV (No. 25 AP) in the conference opener for both teams Wednesday night.
"This was a great win, one of the best wins we had in a long time," said Fredette, who had his third highest career scoring output. "It's a great way to start conference play. Not too many teams are going to come in here and win."
He hit seven 3-pointers for the Cougars (15-1, 1-0), who ended their losing streak at the Thomas & Mack Center against UNLV dating back to Feb. 5, 2005. Fredette had lost in his five games against them.
Jackson Emery had 22 points, while Brandon Davies added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars, who led 38-35 at halftime.
Emery went 6 of 9 from 3-point range as the Cougars went 14 of 28.
"We played on attack and guys made plays," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "[UNLV] is really good. Defensively, we caused them some problems. Going in ahead at halftime was a big confidence booster. I was happy for Jimmer, but the difference for us in the game was Emery."
Anthony Marshall led the Rebels (12-3, 0-1) with a career high 26 points. Tre'Von Willis added 14 points and seven rebounds while Brice Massamba and Oscar Bellfield each had 10 points for UNLV, which had two 10-point first-half leads.
"We were up 10, but then BYU did what they wanted to do," said UNLV coach Lon Kruger, who was going for his 150th win in seven seasons at UNLV. "We had a couple of possessions to wipe it out. Fredette hits a couple of threes to energize them and Emery hit a couple of big shots. BYU played great and kicked our tails. Fredette was terrific. We were stretched a little bit in the second half. We had to give a little [on defense] and Emery stepped up."
Fredette's career high was 49 against Arizona in 2009. Fredette, the nation's third-leading scorer averaging 24.1 coming into Wednesday, had 45 in the same arena, against TCU in the Mountain West Conference tournament last season.
After BYU jumped to a 15-12 lead, the Rebels went on a 13-0 run. But Fredette answered with 13 of his 17 first-half points as the Cougars led 38-35 at halftime, capped by his 3-pointer with 39 seconds left.
"Coach told us we have to make individual plays for the benefit of the team and fortunately I shot well tonight," Emery said. "It felt fantastic. We knew they were beatable because we've done it before."
They never trailed in the second half, jumping out to a 19-7 spurt and silencing the crowd of 17,942.
"We have to come together," Marshall said. "Basketball is a game of runs. We got to stick together in making runs."
After BYU built its biggest lead of 78-57, the Rebels made a mild comeback and cut it to 83-75 with 1:07 remaining.