OKLAHOMA CITY — Jimmer Fredette scored 21 points to give him 58 points and a 29-point average in his two NCAA Tournament appearances that ended his junior season as a Cougar. He scored 133 points for a 33.2 average in postseason games in Las Vegas and here.
But in Kansas State's 84-72 win over BYU on Saturday in the Ford Center, the Wildcats used depth and aggressive defense to effectively slow down Fredette. He made 5-of-13 shots from the field and went 1-for-4 from beyond the arc. He made 10-of-11 free throws, grabbed three rebounds and had five assists and five turnovers with one steal.
"They're an aggressive team defensively," said Fredette. "We knew they were going to get up in us and they started double teaming me even in the backcourt. And as soon as I got over half court, I was just trying to get it up to the teammates and trying to have them be aggressive as well."
Kansas State coach Frank Martin did not want his defenders to put hands on Fredette and get him to the line. But fortunately for his Wildcats, his defenders did just that early without penalty.
Defenders Dominique Sutton and Jacob Pullen took turns and Martin even threw in a trap press in the backcourt with a forward or center to bug the BYU dribbler.
The hand check was not called, allowing defenders to prevent Fredette from turning the corner, where they effectively kept him out of the middle of the floor.
On one possession after Sutton wrapped both hands around Fredette's waist like a link in a kindergarten kid train, Fredette protested loudly to an official to no avail.
"Yeah, that's a hand check," said MWC supervisor of officials Bobby Dibler, who sat next to the Utah press corps. "But it isn't anything until a whistle."
KSU didn't get called for a handcheck on Fredette until 4 minutes into the second half.
The ploy was very effective on Fredette, who went to the line 25 times in a 45-point effort against TCU last week in Las Vegas. K-State clamped down on Fredette as tight as a well-oiled vice, limiting him to just two field goals and one trip to the line in the first 20 minutes.
BYU's offense screeched to a skid after the Cougars led by 10 with 17:39 to play.
"What they started to do is attack us with a second defender on Fredette," said Rose. "And what we needed to have happen, when Jimmer got the ball out of the trap, is to be more efficient in how we attacked that. We got in a little lull there where we didn't score for a while. They caught us and it gave them confidence and they started making shots."
"We saw on tape he likes to drive the ball to the middle of the floor," said Martin. "He likes to attack the middle from either wing. And I thought, for the most part, we did a decent job of staying between him and the rim and not giving those middle drivers. We had breakdowns, but, you know, he's a heck of a player."
Jacob Pullen, who led KSU with 34 points, said he focused on Fredette's crossovers and what side of screens he attacks. "Just wanted to make it hard on him," Pullen said.