LAS VEGAS — San Diego State senior forward Billy White turned in a memorable performance in his final game in his hometown.
White, a Las Vegas native, scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, in helping lead the Aztecs to a 72-54 win over BYU in Saturday's Mountain West Conference Tournament championship at the Thomas & Mack Center.
White was also counted on heavily to help defend Cougar star Jimmer Fredette, who scored 30 points.
"He did a good job. He was very excited to play this game," Fredette said of White. "He hasn't beaten us in a while. You could tell they were really excited, ready to come out and play. He was energized right from the very beginning with offensive rebounds, playing good defense, just doing things to help his team win. He did a good job. He was a big key to the game."
SDSU coach Steve Fisher knew that White would be up to the challenge.
"Billy is a phenomenal athlete. He never gets tired. When he's hurt, he's not hurt," Fisher said. "So he needs maybe 20 seconds to regain his breath and he's ready to go again. I never worry about Billy being fatigued and not being able to do whatever we asked."
White praised Fredette, who made 10-of-25 shots on Saturday.
"That's Jimmer. He's going to make shots," White said. "He's a hard person to stop. You can't technically just stop him. You knew he was going to score. We just tried to contain him."
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM: Both Fredette and White were named to the All-MWC Tournament team. The others were San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard and DJ Gay, and UNLV's Tre'von Willis.
Fredette earned tournament MVP honors.
Leonard was asked his reaction to Fredette being the MVP.
"I just thought it would go to the winning team," Leonard said. "But, you know, he played a great tournament, so I'm not doubting him at all. I don't know what he averaged, but he had 52 in the semifinal game. That deserved the MVP."
HE SAID, HE SAID: Right after San Diego State's victory, Leonard and Fredette exchanged some words, and they didn't appear to be friendly ones.2 comments on this story
"He just said some things. I'm not going to repeat anything that he said," Fredette explained. "But he was excited that they won. I'm not going to back down. I said a couple of things as well, then we were done."
Said Leonard when asked about the exchange: "More respect, just telling him that they played hard, both teams played hard."
NOTABLE: For the first time since his suspension, Brandon Davies was in the middle of BYU's pregame dance circle, leading his team. ... BYU coach Dave Rose has the fourth-best career winning percentage of all active coaches (78.1 percent), trailing only North Carolina's Roy Williams (79.9), Gonzaga's Mark Few (79.4) and Pitt's Jamie Dixon (78.5). ... Saturday marked BYU's final game as a Mountain West Conference team against an MWC opponent. In their 12 seasons in the league, the Cougars finished with a 141-66 overall record.