REBELS BASKETBALL:

Jimmer Fredette and No. 8 BYU again squash UNLV, 78-64

Behind star guard’s 29 points, BYU sweeps regular season series from Rebels for first time since 2003-04

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette yells at his bench after feeding teammate Stephen Rogers for two points as UNLV’s Anthony Marshall and Carlos Lopez head back to their bench for a time out during their game Saturday, February 5, 2011 at BYU in Provo. BYU won 78-64.UNLV BYU during their game Saturday, February 5, 2011 at BYU in Provo. BYU won 78-64.

UNLV vs. BYU Basketball 2-5-11

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall heads towards the bench during a time out in their game against BYU Saturday, February 5, 2011 at BYU in Provo. BYU won 78-64. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. BYU

KSNV coverage of UNLV vs. BYU baskeball game, Feb. 5, 2011.

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With UNLV getting swept by BYU in the regular season for the first time since 2003-04, do you want the Rebels to see the Cougars again in the MWC tournament?

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PROVO, Utah — UNLV's group defensive effort on BYU's Jimmer Fredette was better the second time around than the first, but by plugging up that leak, more opened up.

Coupled with a forgettable offensive performance put on by the Rebels, it was those around the Cougars' All-American guard who helped BYU pull off a season sweep of Lon Kruger's club Saturday afternoon at the sold-out Marriott Center, 78-64.

It marks BYU's first regular season sweep of the UNLV since the 2003-04 campaign.

Fredette scored a game-high 29 points, but only made six field goals. Much of his damage was done with seven assists and an all-too-easy-looking 16-of-16 performance at the free throw line.

"He's a guy who can obviously score, but he's a guy who makes a lot of other good things happen for BYU," Kruger said. "We battled him, but, again, they won the battle. No question about it, he's an effective scorer, effective at making plays for teammates, effective for a lot of reasons."

Where Fredette's impact started to truly be felt was about six minutes into the game, with the two teams tied 8-8.

UNLV's Carlos Lopez was called for a technical foul after it was determined that he threw some elbows while in a loose ball tie-up. That began a run of free points for Fredette at the line, and a layup of his about four minutes later capped an 11-0 run that gave BYU (22-2, overall, 8-1 MWC) the lead for good.

The Rebels looked a bit frazzled for the rest of a half that included a technical foul on Quintrell Thomas for demonstratively arguing a call, more Fredette free throws and, most importantly, a lack of scoring punch.

UNLV (17-6, 5-4) went into the break down 38-27 after an 8-of-30 shooting performance in the game's first 20 minutes. Against BYU's 2-3 zone defense, instead of regularly attacking the basket or feeding the ball inside to break it up, the Rebels swung the ball on the perimeter too much and opted for difficult deep looks.

"In the first half, I felt we kind of rushed some shots, where into the second half, we made a lot of open shots, were able to penetrate against the zone, dump it down into our big guys some and have them pass it out," sophomore guard Anthony Marshall said. "I felt the first half we kind of settled, and we can't have first halves like that against a good team like this one on the road.

"When they get up, it's hard to overcome."

Marshall led the effort in keeping UNLV afloat in the second half, driving several times while scoring a team-high 16 points and coming up with several key defensive plays.

But while UNLV was coming alive a bit, Fredette's supporting cast made big shot after big shot.

Jackson Emery, who scored 22 points in the first meeting, hit a pair of open 3-pointers, and reserve guard Charles Abouo put the finishing touches on a 10-point day.

The most unlikely hero was sophomore back-up forward Stephen Rogers, who played 21 minutes while starting power forward Brandon Davies was limited for much of the night with foul issues. Rogers hit two big treys of his own, scored 12 points and took down eight rebounds. It was only his third time this season scoring in double figures.

BYU's bench, which for much of the season has been looked at as its biggest weakness, out-scored UNLV's, 22-8.

It wasn't just UNLV's reserves who had trouble finding the bottom of the bucket, though.

As a team, the Rebels were 18-of-60 (30 percent) from the floor and 6-of-23 from long range. It marked the second straight game where the trio of Chace Stanback, Oscar Bellfield and Tre'Von Willis struggled from the field.

They combined to go just 7-of-25 on Wednesday in a home win against Utah, and on Saturday were 9-of-28. Bellfield was 1-of-11 from the floor in 39 minutes of run.

"We felt like we came out playing how we wanted to, it's just the first half we relied on a lot of outside shots instead of penetrating and kicking out for those shots," Marshall said. "Right now, we're shooting a better percentage shooting open shots rather than contested shots."

The afternoon was capped by Fredette going on a mini-offensive spurt in the closing minutes.

His lone 3-point make of the game came with just over seven minutes to go, then three of his six field goals were in the final 3:28, with one making him the Mountain West's all-time leading scorer.

The most fascinating came with a minute left and BYU up 14.

Even though Willis wasn't as harsh with his words regarding Fredette leading into the second meeting as he was before the first, Fredette clearly wanted to give Willis a parting gift.

He called for the ball atop the key, wanting a one-on-one match-up with his biggest league rival, crossed to the right, then exploded to the left and absolutely blew down the lane for his final points of the day.

"I just tried to stay aggressive the whole entire game, no matter what or who was guarding me or whatever," Fredette said afterward, not tipping his hand at all. "We needed another basket. I wanted to score another basket, really put them away, and that's what happened."

Willis scored 15 points in 25 minutes and was brief with his comments regarding the game, citing UNLV's 13 turnovers as a key contributor in the loss and saying that even the improved defensive effort on Fredette "wasn't good enough."

"Very frustrating, because we know we can play way better than this," he said. "We've just got to prove it on the court, though."

UNLV could get a third crack at BYU in the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas in early March, but the loss on Saturday only cut down on the Rebels' margin for error the rest of the way in league play.

Next up will be a trip to face TCU at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by a 5 p.m. home date with No. 7 San Diego State next Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Notes

• Lopez played the second half with the middle and index fingers on his right hand taped together. It was the result of a fall during the first half after a shot attempt. Kruger said after the game that Lopez's fingers bent backwards in the fall, but the extent of the injury won't be known until the team returns home. After screaming a couple of times in pain late in the first half while being worked on, Lopez returned to play six second half minutes.

• Other statistics of note … After combining for 29 points and 25 rebounds on Wednesday night, Lopez and sophomore Quintrell Thomas combined for 10 points and nine boards in just 26 minutes … BYU was 24-of-25 from the free throw line, while UNLV was 22-of-26 … UNLV out-rebounded BYU 43-34, only allowing the Cougars eight offensive caroms … Marshall and Stanback both posted double-doubles. On top of the 16 points, Marshall had 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Stanback had 14 points and 10 boards … UNLV senior guard Derrick Jasper struggled again off of the bench. He played 18 minutes, and his only two recorded stats were one rebound and one foul. He had no shot attempts.

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  1. Carlos gets called for a tech while Emery is pretty much kicking him like a 2 year old. Is it just me or is it every time an official goes to the monitor it costs the Rebels 2 shots and the ball. I know I am venting and pissed with the 30% shooting, but that's happened a few times this season.
    As for the poll question, I absolutely want another shot in March. And I bet Tre does as well. However, it would have to be in the 2nd round. If you have to go through SDSU first, I don't know how much this team would have left in the tank for a 3rd game in three days.

  2. Didn't get a chance to see the game. Sounds like another pathetic showing, especially from our guards. Kruger must be back to subbing the bigs every four minutes by the looks of the box score. And until he backs it up, I think willis needs to stop calling out fredette.

  3. And another problem the last few games in not being able to convert on the fast break. The missed layup by Justin and the blown dunk by Anthony are unforgivable.

  4. Very easy to focus on the negatives (questionable 'T' on QT early in the game, Lopez freaking out in the middle of a scrum and getting a 'T', missing wide open shots, etc.) I choose to look at the positive side. We out rebounded and dominated the offensive boards. I could be wrong but that might be the most offensive rebounds by a BYU opponent all season. Very good game by AM, save for a few crucial plays. But let's put this game in perspective for a minute. BYU is easily the best team in the MWC. With respect to SDSU, BYU is better. Fredette should be POY, and we will not be facing anyone like him outside of a BYU game unless we get all the way to the Final Four. Our guys, on the other hand, are banged up and not 100%. Not to make excuses, but if Tre and Bellfield are healthy, they don't miss that many open shots. Bottom line is if you miss that many open shots against a team like BYU, you will lose by a lot. Too many careless passes and we need to learn how to attack a zone defense.

    I guess my positive spin on this game is that, if two of the three Rebels (Bellfield, Stanback, Willis) who shot absolutely miserable today have an average or better than average shooting game, we win. This loss was not as frustrating , in my eyes, as the SDSU loss. That's a game we should have won.

    And Mashour needs to be out there shooting over zones, if our zone strategy is to pick and pass around the perimeter for jumpshots, and we need more cutting to the basket against a zone. Do I have to think of everything Coach Kruger? When did our beloved coach become so one-dimensional, and consistently out-coached by MWC opponents?

  5. Where is the glue to this team? Willis is clearly not it. He has regressed in the biggest games all season. Bombs away when he gets the rock and I dont see where he makes his team mates better. Marshall busts his tail when he gets out there and lifts his team mates around him.

    After watching Gorman on ESPN 2 tonite - yes a Las Vegas Basketball team can actually get better exposure than what their local college team can achieve, how come UNLV can not get Shabaaz?

    I know the obvious, there are more high profile college teams that are after him. But, when will Kruger land a big time recruit out of High School, instead of getting the left overs from other colleges?

    He let this game get away and could not put the brakes on his team when they started to fall apart. He is a former NBA Coach he should be able to convince a kid that he can get them to the next level, but we have not seen it from recruiting. We have not seen it from the results of his UNLV players in the draft either.

    You can not afford to let a game like this one run away from you on the road. You can not afford a your so called MWC Player of the Year to not lift his team. We are seeing Colorado State with facilities worse than UNLV's creeping by the Rebels. Someone should be raising the questions, this team does not look like a NCAA team right now and frankly they have underachieved.

  6. Analyze all you want. The Rebs played hard, were unselfish, played good defense, rebounded well, this team just sucks at shooting. At absolute best this team finishes 10-6 in conference and that is a stretch. I do not see any way that this team can beat SDSU at home or CSU & UNM on the road. This could be the worst shooting team in UNLV history. If any coach even thinks about playing anything but zone against this team they ought to be shot. This team offensively is flat out awful.

  7. Hate to disagree with you, but a team that "sucks at shooting" wouldn't be ranked 52 in the country in FG%. They'd be ranked more like 252. Problem is more with shot selection, rushing shots, poor decisions, turnovers. We don't seem to handle adversity very well, particularly in conference play. I remember the KSU game, much more hostile environment then Provo, Rebels dug in and found a way to win that one. So obviously this team has the ability to turn it around. The questions is will they?

  8. Key now is the CSU game. Will be tough to make the tournament if we get swept by CSU. I think we'll be in good shape if we win at CSU and beat either UNM or SDSU. Those are big IF's, but its absolutely doable. It'd be tough to get an at-large bid over CSU if they sweep us. We take care of busniess and finish 3rd in the conference and we'll be fine.

    The shooting is just awful and nobody will beat this BYU team shooting 30%, let alone in Provo. The encouraing thing is that we never let BYU really run away with the game. We always stayed close enough to make a run and put the pressure on, we just didn't shoot well enough to make the run we needed. What scares me is the fact that we shot well over 80% from the line and out-rebounded BYU, who is an excellent rebounding team, and still got handled pretty easily. We had that 5 minute stretch when we got the two technicals, BYU opened up a 10 point lead and we played them pretty much even the rest of the game. Sort of a mixed bag, really: they couldn't pull away all game, but we couldn't make a run all game.

  9. Actually Joe they are 81st in field goal percentage because they do get to the rim alot. However they are 319 out of 346 in 3 point field goal percentage at 29.9%. I am quite frankly amazed that we are 17-6 with that amount of brick laying.

  10. It is amazing to see a major D-1 program look so lost against a zone defense. Outside of Marshall yesterday virtually none of the perimeter players tried to dribble penetrate holes in the zone and there was very little inside-out ball movement. As usual under Kruger it was pass the ball around the perimeter and jack a contested shot up.

    The players deserve their share of blame but to me the biggest difference yesterday was Dave Rose, Dave Rice & Co. thoroughly outcoaching Lon Kruger and his staff. I was curious to see if after a few minutes into the zone when we hit a couple of three's (I believe by Stanback and Willis) if Rose would call it off and go back man. To his credit he hung in with it and it proved to be the difference in the game IMO. Our coaching staff had no answer for it other than to hope the jumpers would start falling.

    Unless Kruger makes a concerted effort to brush up on his zone offense skills in the off season I don't see any real improvement from a personnel standpoint next year. Having Wallace back will help some, and we can hope Stanback is hot for that particular game, but other than that unless there is serious improvement from the other perimeter players (Marshall, Hawkins, Bellfield)in the offseason expect to struggle again next year against zone defense. Hope I am wrong, but I don't believe Reggie Smith is a good starting point to improve perimeter shooting moving forward.

  11. I appreciate that trying to make a heated personal rivalry between TreVon and Jimmer makes a good story, but what has Jimmer said that gives you the idea that 1) he has animosity to TreVon; or 2) deems TreVon his primary rival?

    This is a one sided fight created by TreVon's mouth. Move one. There is nothing to see here.

  12. I'd take the fact that when the game was over yesterday and Jimmer was demanding the ball so he could go at Tre'von and try to pour in some more points as evidence that there is something a little extra there. He doesn't say anything and I wish Tre would shut up before the BYU games, but there's definitely a little something there from Jimmer's side too.

  13. Having recently moved here from the midwest, I enjoy seeing the local conference teams play ball. However, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see who the better team was again yesterday. It does bother me though to get definite vibes on the quality of persons that the Rebs suit up. Do we always have to have rejects from other schools? I think it shows. What's with that?

  14. When one player gets the Kobe treatment, then of course its going to get on the nerves of the rest of the league. Its not just tre'von, although he is most vocal. I also watched the SDSU game, and SDSU played much like UNLV has against BYU. Always jawing with the refs especially Leornard. The SDSU game, with that awesome front line, BYU didn't have a fouled called on them in the second half until about 5- 7 min left and BYU had built a lead. The goon Magnuson had something like 5 blocks. Wyo game, BYU up 61-60, twice Wyo player gets pushed out of bounds under the basket with no call, and Wyo gets called for two ticky-tack and one calls on the other end.

    I say good riddance to the prima donas. Let them go off into obscurity in the WCC, we don't need their game to make our season.

  15. @ Run-nRebels:

    That's the best u can do? BYU doesn't need to associate with a below average institution like UNLV. We own you in football. We just swept u in basketball. U enjoy winning when it's MWC tournament because of your "Kobe like treatment". It's called "home court advantage".

    Don't get trapped in the same planet as Tre'von Willis...all talk and nothing to show for. He must really enjoy the crow he eats from Jimmer. Besides, he belongs in jail to beating his girlfriend. Perhaps u and your buddy are in the same boat??

    Sorry u guys can't leave this crap hole conference called MWC. You can cry about it just like coach Patterson of TCU, but when he saw the opportunity to leave he grabbed it without hesitation. The smart schools are leaving...the bottom feeders remain behind. And that's all she wrote, Jack!

  16. three points

    1) directed at Kirkland for this genius statement "when will Kruger land a big time recruit out of High School" His name is Anthony Marshall

    2) what QT did for that tech was no worse that what Jimmer does after every call that goes against him

    3) I didn't expect the Rebels to win that game and can't wait for the rematch in the tourney

  17. Amen Jerry! I thought we had a good shot at winning that game going in. If you would have told me we would out-rebound BYU and shoot over 80% from the line, I'd tell you its a win. Unfortunately, it didn't quite happen that way.

    I understand all of the disappointment about the game, but lets be realistic about what happened. Step back from all of our emotional attachment to the Rebels and what does this game look like to an outsider? UNLV lost to the #8 team in the country on the road. Does it suck? Of course, but its hardly the huge blow some would have us believe it to be. We need the CSU game and need either the SDSU game at home or a win at The Pit against UNM. Whether we get those wins or not remains to be seen, but thats what we're looking at as far as our NCAA tournament prospects.

  18. Dear Golf 702. Let's look at BYU and UNLV NCAA tournament and head to head histories over the last 4 years. You lose. Also the location of the MWC tourney is definitely an advantage for UNLV but it is also for BYU. There's a lot of mormons in Vegas. I've been to every BYU UNLV game in the last 4 years and that building is usually 35-40 percent blue.

  19. Tre'Von was right! Jimmer didn't want to get no assists. He wanted to get 7!

  20. HenderCoug,

    Thanks for trying to pretend that Jimmer is immune to rivalry, but how about the fact that Jimmer took only 14 shots against UNLV after Tre'Von's "He doesn't want to pass" comment? Last time against UNLV, he took 25. Jimmer also had 7 assists and was visibly more interested in creating for his teammates than he had been in previous games. That last minute demand to drive on Tre' is just more evidence.

    I have no problem admitting that Jimmer is probably the best player in the country but don't pretend that he doesn't like to rub it in Tre's face. Jimmer just does it the Jimmer way.

  21. Golf702

    MWC is ranked 4th in the country in RPI, higher than the ACC and SEC. Don't get mad cuz big brother Utah decided to leave and you were not invited. Going independent was a stupid move, nobody want to come to Happy Valley and play you in football so your stuck scheduling crappy WAC teams to fill your slots, and considering you have never done anything in the BCS i'll stick with Boise State-they have. So take your Cougars and go to the inferior West Coast Conf. WOW they have Saint Marys...POWERHOUSE! You get us one year and its like BYU won the national title. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TO A SWEET 16 SINCE 1981!!! And sorry to break the bad news...but lil JIMMER and EMERY are gone next year...that's like 95% of your total offense...and then back to the same old story different day for BYU...1 tourney win every 17 YEARS! You are better than the Rebels this year, but thats it, next year you'll be just another mediocre bball team playing in high school venues across the WCC, get over yourself this is why everywhere BYU goes they are despised by the fans. Drink some more sprite and caffeine free coke..your delusional!

  22. Jimmer is obviously in to the whole rivalry thing with Tre'von, he just doesn't come out in the paper and say stuff before the game. If we get BYU in the MWC semis or finals, someone better put a muzzle on Tre.

    I don't know that Jimmer's high assist total was as much a product of him actively seeking to get others involved as much as it was our defense. Our guys were all over him all game. There were a few times he went up to shoot and had to pass because our defender was right on top of him.

    I like Jimmer a lot as a player, but the dislike for the name on the front carries much more passion for me. He definitely is one of, if not the top, players in the country. I hate you Jimmer Fredette... but dammit, I respect you.

  23. D LEAGUE HERE JIMMER COMES!

  24. That's a good point MikeLange...Jimmer is a great college player, and probably most of us only hate him because he plays for BYU...and Cuz the MTN is in love with him. He'll probably never be a star in pro ball, but he'll probably be a Christian Laettner type. Anyways....I'd like to see Anthony Marshall play primary defense against him if we get BYU in the tournament. Tre'Von could take Jimmer on last year because he was healthy, but this year he's just not as explosive. But AM is our absolute best player, and defnitely is a good defensive presence. I remember earlier in the season when he was one one one with a point guard and outright blocked a 3 point attempt at the top of the key, took the ball and slammed it on the other side. Granted that was against some dude who was like 5 foot nothing on Washburn or something...but I think if coach gave Jimmer to Marshall, he would dominate him. That's just the type of player Marshall is...

    I like your previous point, too, MikeLange...although we HATE losing to the Mormons, it is counted as a good loss, and actually raised our RPI. What we need to focus on is showing up for our team this Saturday against SDSU. If our crowd is anything like it was when we played New Mexico, then I think we can win this game and solidify our at large status. Even if we lose, wins at New Mexico and Colorado State would really help too. The whole country still counts us in the NCAA tournament, so it seems we don't have to worry much. Granted, just getting into the tournament isn't gonna be good enough forever, but after losing Matt and Kendall, Oscar hurt for the rest of the season, and Tre with no explosiveness, I think making the tournament should be good enough this season. EVERYONE SHOW UP TO THIS WEEKENDS GAME!! if you don't show up, then you don't have ANY right to complain about the way they play.

  25. LimpingReb07

    Don't care about little brother Utes, they can't even beat a high school team. Besides, they will choke in the Pac12. You're right, we haven't busted the BCS, but neither has UNLV. We have a national champion!

    ESPN, exposure, more money...sounds like you need a diet coke. I'll stick with water!

  26. This probably goes without saying, but don't forget the blue kool aid with that. LOL BYU calling out UNLV basketball, whats next UNC, DUKE Kentucky, LOL.