Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette goes down gunning

Published: Thursday, March 24 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

NEW ORLEANS — The Jimmer Show finally skidded to a halt here where the mighty Mississippi ends at the gulf sea.

The end came in overtime against a talented SEC champion Florida squad that didn't do anything Jimmer hadn't seen before. Shots the All-American had converted against others in a season of glory, open looks from his patented launch pad from the top of his 36-inch jump, simply bounded harmlessly away at the end of regulation.

And so did BYU's run in the NCAAs.

Florida 83, BYU 74.

It may not have been the way Fredette wanted it to end.

But it was his flame to extinguish and he did it his way.

Fredette scored 32 points on 11-of-29 shooting. It was the most points scored against the Gators by anyone all year and it came in a game where the 71 three-pointers attempted by BYU and Florida set an NCAA Tournament record.

Jimmer just didn't get his share.

Fredette was just 3-of-15 from beyond the arc. If he'd made just two more from distance, he'd have been a hero. If he'd made seven, like he did against Gonzaga, Florida would be headed home.

It was not to be.

Fredette didn't make a shot in the game until 6:17 remained in the first half. Then he scored 10 before intermission.

Before Florida took control of BYU in overtime, Fredette took a pair of bombs that missed with the score tied at 67 inside 1:47.

If freshman Kyle Collinsworth makes two instead of one free throw with 43 seconds left in regulation, maybe BYU wins and there is no overtime. Or, if Gators Chandler Parsons or Kenny Boynton hit shots in the final 14 seconds there is no overtime, either, only a Florida win.

That's basketball.

The college icon of 2010-2011 went down gunning. He admitted fatigue in the end of regulation.

"Maybe a little bit at the end," said Fredette. "We played the whole game and I was a little bit tired. But it's not an excuse. They were ready to go, especially in that overtime. We had a chance, we got a stop, we had a chance to get a rebound, they got an offensive rebound and put it out. And you never know what could have happened if we got that rebound. But they definitely had fresh legs and they were ready to go in that overtime."

Donning a bandage on a chin that will need stitches, a left shoulder pink and scratched, Fredette limped off the podium in the pressroom with a contusion in his left calf muscle suffered in the first half.

"It happened in the game," said Fredette. "I don't know what happened, if I got kneed or if it cramped. It definitely didn't cramp, but I got kneed or got a little strain or something. But my upper left calf was kind of bothering me, so he [the trainer] just kind of warmed it up and everything before I went out to go."

Fredette's wounds were valid. He didn't use them as an excuse. He'd missed too many shots. But he'd take them all again if given the chance.

A shooter's conscience. Never remember misses.

"Any time he wants to get it off, he can get it off," said Florida coach Billy Donovan. "He's got a special skill, and I give him credit because he's a real hard-working kid that has really made himself a great player, and I've got all the respect and admiration for that."

This Sweet 16 matchup was typical when teams get this deep in the NCAA Tournament. It was a physical game. Officials watched more than worked the plastic whistles in their mouths. That gave the bigger, deeper Gators a significant advantage.

BYU's been playing on borrowed paint time since forward Chris Collinsworth had surgery in early January.

And Florida used that advantage well.

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