What a night for Jimmer Fredette.
The pride of Glens Falls, New York began and ended his night with a standing ovation from 6,300 adoring fans.
The hometown hero made good on his triumphant return home, scoring 26 points and delivering five assists as the BYU Cougars cruised to a 86-58 win over a good Vermont team.
These types of emotional games can often go sour for the guest of honor, but Jimmer seemed to handle it like he does virtually everything else: all in stride.
Jimmer and his teammates spent two-plus days in Glens Falls living like celebrities and being chased by the paparazzi.
It would have been very easy to lose sight of the task at hand, but BYU came out from the very beginning and took it to a team that ended one of the nation’s longest home-winning streaks at Siena and led No. 6 Connecticut at the half on the Huskies’ home court.
Fredette took charge early, scoring BYU’s first three baskets, and the Cougars never looked back. He even added a little french pastry at the end with an uncharacteristic behind-the-back pass to Kyle Collinsworth for a layup that thrilled the locals.
This game also epitomized the real story of the season thus far for the Cougars—their tenacious defense. BYU continues to be able to harass opponents, get lots of hands in the passing lanes, and limit what their opponents like to do offensively.
In Wednesday’s lopsided win, BYU was able to shut down the Catamounts’ leading scorer Evan Fjeld.
Fjeld, who entered the game averaging 21 points per game, was rarely able to touch the ball in scoring position for most of the night. He was held scoreless in the first half by BYU’s double-teaming defense and finished with just five points on 2-7 shooting.
The Cougars now move to 9-0 on the season and are 5-0 on their current eight-game stretch away from the Marriott Center. It’s been impressive that they have been able to stay perfect without the services of forward Chris Collinsworth, who has been out with a severely sprained ankle since November 23rd and may not be back for another couple of weeks.
His absence has left the Cougars thin on the front line, but so far they have been able to manage.
An encouraging sign for this team are the breakout games and continued improvement made by players like Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Charles Abuou and most recently Stephen Rogers, who has gone 5-7 from three-point range in the last two games. This is definitely not a one-man band, with different players seeming to step up each night to help out Fredette.
The road now gets a little tougher over the next week-and-a-half with two PAC-10 schools, Arizona, and UCLA on the docket.