BYU star guard and pre-season All American Jimmer Fredette lived up to his billing with 39 points, including 7-of-13 from three-point range. Fredette also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists for the Cougars (15-1 1-0 MWC), who have won five straight since losing to UCLA by seven points back on December 18.
“I was just hitting shots tonight,” Fredette said. “I saw the ball going into the basket. My teammates did a great job of screening and finding me when I was open.”
Jackson Emery posted 22 points while Brandon Davies had a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards in the win.
Anthony Marshall had a team-best 26 points for the Runnin’ Rebels (12-3 0-1),who had a three-game win streak halted. Tre’Von Willis had 14 points and seven rebounds, while Brice Massamba and Oscar Bellfield each tallied 10 points in the loss.
Noah Hartsock opened the second half with a three-point play, then Fredette nailed a jumper to give BYU a 43-35 edge.
After a Bellfield trey, the Cougars rallied off three trifectas in a row — two from Emery and one from Fredette — for a 52-38 edge with 15 1/2 minutes left in the game.
A few moments later, Fredette’s 1-of-2 showing from the charity strip extended the Cougars’ edge to 57-42.
The Rebels threatened by starting a 10-point spurt with four minutes left. Marshall’s two free throws opened the run, then Bellfield trey concluded it, making a 78-67 contest with 2 1/2 left.
Marshall’s three-point play with just over a minute to play cut the margin to eight, but the Cougars were able to finish out the game from the free throw line.
UNLV jumped to a 7-3 lead thanks to Willis’ jumper and three-pointer, but Davies took BYU’s first lead of the game, 13-12, on a jump shot with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
A 13-point Rebels’ run gave the home team a 23-15 edge with just under seven minutes before halftime, but BYU fought back, once again, thanks to Davies and Fredette. Davies bookended Fredette’s back-to-back treys with a dunk and a jumper to draw within two, 34-32, with just over two minutes left in the half.
“I thought when we were up we had an opportunity to widen [the lead], but instead Fredette makes a couple of threes and it seemed to get them energized a little bit,” UNLV head coach Lon Kruger said. “Then BYU clearly did what they had to do.”
Hartsock then made a three and Fredette made another trifecta with 40 seconds left to give the Cougars a 38-35 edge at the half.
The Rebels still lead the all-time series with BYU 18-15. The victory marks the Cougars’ first at the Thomas and Mack Center since 2005, snapping and eight-game losing streak to UNLV in the building…Fredette played all 40 minutes of the game…The Cougars shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from long distance, while UNLV shot just 36.8 percent (7-of-19)…Emery tied a career-high with six-three pointers. He was 6-for-9 from behind the arc.