BYU took down future West Coast Conference foe Saint Mary’s 74-73 Saturday to claim the championship in the South Padre Island Invitational.
After dishing out the assist for the winning shot the night before against South Florida, Jimmer Fredette took matters into his own hands by hitting a three-point shot with 10 seconds left to put BYU up for good 72-70 in a see-saw battle.
Fredette finished the game with 24 points and four assists on 10 of 18 shooting from the floor. He scored 56 points in two games in South Texas.
Ironically, his late-game three was the lone trey of the evening for Jimmer, who went just 1-6 from downtown.
Jackson Emery was 3-6 from three and was second on the team in scoring with 15 points.
Once again the Cougars defense was a big factor, playing with their hands in the passing lanes and limiting the Gaels’ outside game. BYU came up with 11 steals and forced Saint Mary’s into 17 turnovers.
BYU held a team that was averaging 30 three-point shots a game to just 12 looks from beyond the arc. The Cougars also held the Gaels to nearly 20 points below their nation-leading 92.3 points per game.
It was a good win for BYU on a neutral court. Saint Mary’s is a team that some feel were deserving of being ranked in the Top 25 polls. The Gaels advanced to the Sweet 16 in last year’s NCAA Tournament by knocking out second-seeded Villanova.
The Cougars’ performance was also a significant improvement over Friday night’s less than stellar outing against USF.
With the win the Cougars stay undefeated at 6-0 going into their next contest at Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference Wednesday night. BYU is in the mist of an eight-game, 30-day stretch away from the Marriott Center.