Different year, same story.
BYU destroyed the Arizona Wildcats once again Saturday, this time by a of score of 87-65.
Jimmer Fredette didn’t score 49 this time around; he had to settle for a mere 33 instead, and a career-high nine rebounds.
In two games against the Wildcats, Jimmer has scored 82 points. On Saturday he watched from the bench for the final four-plus minutes of the game.
In the last two seasons BYU has outscored Arizona by a combined total of 52 points. Last year the Cougars went into Tucson and clobbered the Cats 99-69.
BYU also got notable performances Saturday from Kyle Collinsworth, who had 12 points on five of six from the field, and reserve center James Anderson, who had a terrific game defensively, controlling the paint and finishing the night with two blocked shots and six rebounds.
Brandon Davies struggled with foul trouble again, but when he was in the game he was able to do damage against the Wildcats, finishing with 11 points on a perfect five-of-five shooting.
The Cougars (10-0) responded to facing their biggest test of the season thus far, by playing their best game to date. Without Chris Collinsworth (ankle), and without Noah Hartsock (lacerated mouth in the first half) for the majority of the game, BYU destroyed a team that just two weeks ago gave fourth-ranked Kansas all it wanted.
Despite having dominated every opponent other than the Jayhawks on their schedule, the Wildcats and their star player Derrick Williams were no match for BYU. The Cougars out boarded one of the better rebounding teams in the country 34-27, and out shot Arizona 52-percent to 35-percent from the floor.
Once again the BYU defense played a key role in a victory. The Cougars held Arizona to 18 points under their scoring average and limited its superstar player Derrick Williams to just 13 points.
Williams is no doubt the real deal, a man among boys, and a guy that we will likely see making an impact in the NBA next year, but the Cougars’ zone defense nullified him. BYU’s zone has been impressive thus far this year, the Cougars have shown the same level of aggression and tenacity in their zone defense as they have demonstrated in their man-to-man.
This Cougar basketball team is beginning to look like it could be one of the best we’ve seen in Provo in a long time. The scary thing is that this group is still evolving and growing as players like both Collinsworth brothers and Stephen Rogers have yet to come into their own.
Looking down the road at the remaining schedule, it’s hard to see any potential losses outside of road games in San Diego, Las Vegas and Albuquerque.
The Cougars face UCLA in Anaheim next Saturday in the John Wooden Classic, but BYU should be the clear favorite in that game seeing how the Bruins have struggled. Following the match up with UCLA, BYU will travel to Weber State and Buffalo and host games against UTEP and Fresno Pacific before the Mountain West Conference schedule begins.
2010-11 looks like it is shaping up to be one of those special seasons that Cougar fans will remember for a long time to come.