Predictable BYU basketball scrimmage: About dead even, both sides busting it and a guy with a deadly eye takes over.
Jimmer Fredette hit a dramatic 3-pointer to force overtime and then teamed with Brandon Davies for eight points in a 2-minute overtime to lift the BYU's White Squad to a 62-56 win over the Blue Squad Wednesday night in the Marriott Center.
"We didn't quite know what to do there," said BYU coach Dave Rose when Fredette extended the scrimmage. With fans expecting an autograph session after the Blue & White scrimmage, Rose decided to let it go for 120 seconds more.
"We played more intense in the second half than the first. But as you can see, this group is very competitive and they like to get after it. Jimmer hit one of those last year to win it."
So went the first public look at BYU basketball, the 2010-2011 version, minus Chris Miles, Jonathan Tavernari and missionary Tyler Haws.
The big question for Rose is if this BYU squad is capable of winning 30 games again this year, and if they make the Big Dance, will they advance?
No question, the big building block of all those goals is the return of senior All-America point guard Fredette.
But how good is his supporting cast? Is this an athletic squad? Are there consistent shooters alongside Fredette? Can this team defend and rebound? What about chemistry?
Wednesday's scrimmage didn't reveal answers to all that. But fans got a nice peek.
The Cougars will have some new faces who could help find some answers, including two players back from missions, Chris Collinsworth and Nick Martineau. They also have Mr. Basketball in Utah 2010, Provo High freshman Kyle Collinsworth, and 6-foot-8 junior college transfer Steve Rogers, who has impressive range.
The biggest surprise in camp this fall has been former walk-on Brock Zylstra, even if he had just five points on 2-of-8 shooting Wednesday.
Rose divided his squad for the scrimmage with a mix of scholarship players and walk-ons for two 15-minute halves.
The Blue squad consisted of Charles Abouo, Jackson Emery, Craig Cusick (walk-on), Martineau, James Anderson, Anson Winder, Andrew Topham (walk-on) and Chris Collinsworth. On the White Squad were Davies, Logan Magnusson, Zylstra, Rogers, Kyle Collinsworth, Fredette and Tim Cavanaugh (walk-on).
Rose couldn't have split it closer. The scrimmage was about dead even and was tied up at the half.
Fredette, who finished with 26 points in 32 minutes, didn't like how his White squad handled the wings. When he hit his big shot, he told reporters afterwards, he had to "make up" for poor play.
Abouo led the Blue squad with 19 points. Chris Collinsworth had 11 for the Blue with Anderson chalking up 10. Chris Collinsworth and Davies each had eight rebounds.
This team looked about as physical as a year ago with similar athleticism as the squad that beat Florida in the NCAA first round. I've seen better shooting from the returning cast. Rose has a lot of choices with role players and this squad seems to mesh and know those roles.
The Blue guys were impressive, mainly due to hustle. I thought Anderson caused Davies a lot of problems defensively and Emery, Martineau and Abouo made plenty of plays on both ends of the floor.
Abouo's tip-in with 30 seconds to play and pair of makes at the line with 13.3 seconds left gave the Blue a 52-49 lead. That's when a ticked-off Fredette brought the crowd of about 4,000 a shock of electricity with a 24-foot 3-ball with 3.8 seconds left to send it into overtime.
I thought Martineau looked impressive working the point opposite Fredette. He was on an LDS mission in Santiago, Chile last May.
"We've got a lot of work to do," said Rose. "We didn't play defense with the intensity we need throughout, and we could have better shot selection."
Fredette said the Cougars know one another pretty well and a lot of moves individually were checkmated.
"We look forward to playing somebody else." he said.
That chance comes Friday in an exhibition against Laval, a team from Quebec, Canada.