Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Gonzaga coach Mark Few must be a fan of the roulette wheel.
The Bulldogs, 48 hours after watching Wofford leave the lane open for Jimmer Fredette to drive all night long, decided to gamble and clog up the lane, forcing Fredette to shoot the 3-pointer.
The gamble was a miserable failure as Fredette made 7-of-13 3-point shots and helped the Cougars steadily pull away from Gonzaga in Saturday's 89-67 win in Denver.
Many BYU fans figured "The Jimmer Show" would have to go off for 45 or so to have a chance against the 11th-seeded but highly thought of Bulldogs. But Fredette, who scored 34 points and handed out six assists, was very efficient.
BYU had three other players score in double-figures: Jackson Emery (16), Noah Hartsock (13) and Stephen Rogers (10). They were all primary beneficiaries of BYU's now tried-and-true formula of Jimmer drawing the defense and kicking to open teammates.
It was clear at the beginning of the game that BYU's focus was to get everyone involved. In fact, in the first half, Fredette only factored in the play on the offensive end on 14-of-33 possessions (45 percent). When he did factor in the play, Jimmer was, well, Jimmer-ific. He had four 3-pointers, two free throws and three assists.
But the real Jimmer-mentos came just after the intermission. Of BYU's first seven possessions of the second half, Fredette factored in five of them. He had a 3-pointer, a pair of assists to Charles Abouo and a layup. Not coincidentally, that was the stretch of the game when the Cougars pushed a 45-38 halftime edge into a 56-40 blowout.
The senior from Glens Falls, N.Y., finished the night shooting 11-of-23 shooting from the floor, nailing all five of his free throws and turning it over just three times.
Fredette finished by directly factoring positively (score or assist) in 34 out of BYU's 67 offensive possessions (51 percent). He also touched the ball on 18 other possessions, but did not directly factor in 15 of those with the remaining three possessions being his three turnovers. He missed 12 shots.
Fredette finally checked out of the game with 1:14 to play with the Cougars comfortably ahead. It was his first time to the bench in the NCAA Tournament. Against Wofford, he played all 40 minutes.
One sidenote: Of Jimmer's seven made 3-pointers, only one was within four feet of the 3-point line. Two others were about five feet past the arc, and the other four were from somewhere in the neighborhood of Pueblo, Colo.
Andy Griffin is a southern Utah broadcaster and sports writer and has been involved in covering sports in Utah, including professional, college and high school sports, since 1989.
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