For the first time in 2018’s The Basketball Tournament, Team Fredette didn’t suffer from a slow start.
It came at a good time, as a balanced effort helped Team Fredette cruise past Scarlet & Gray 100-78 in TBT quarterfinals action Sunday at Georgia State’s University Sports Arena, punching its ticket in the semifinals of the annual $2 million winner-take-all event.
Team Fredette, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional, controlled the action much of the game and used a 14-4 run to start the fourth quarter to help hand regional top seed Scarlet & Gray, a team comprised mainly of former Ohio State players, a lopsided loss.
Fredette, the former BYU guard, led the way with 28 points, shooting 10 of 17 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. He added seven assists and four rebounds.
“We played together, shared the ball. That’s what we try to do. We got all these guys for a reason. These guys can play,” Fredette said in an ESPN postgame interview.
Former Utah Jazz big man Jack Cooley also had an impressive game in his second contest with Team Fredette. He had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and added seven rebounds while playing against two former NBA big men in Jared Sullinger and Greg Oden in the post.
“It was a great opportunity against two phenomenal big men,” Cooley told ESPN. "I took it as a challenge upon myself to help us and not let the big men in the paint be the reason that we struggled and allow players like Jimmer to help us along the way and carry the load scoring."
All five starters scored in double figures for Team Fredette, including 16 points from Ra'Shad James (including four 3-pointers), 15 from former BYU big man Brandon Davies (to go with four rebounds and three steals) and 13 from Jordon Crawford (as well as four assists).
Team Fredette took a 21-17 lead into the second quarter, capped by Fredette hitting a long, leaning jumper at the first-period buzzer, and Team Fredette extended the lead to 51-40 at halftime.
Team Fredette, which led by as many as 23 points in the fourth, shot 57.4 percent for the game, to 46.6 percent for Scarlet & Gray. Team Fredette also had a 27-10 edge in points off turnovers and a 46-30 advantage in points in the paint.
Sullinger had 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals in a losing effort for Scarlet & Gray, while Oden added two points, two steals, an assist and a block in just nine minutes. David Lighty paced Scarlet & Gray with 16 points, while former Buckeye Aaron Craft had 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Team Fredette will play Eberlein Drive, with former Jazzman Jeremy Evans, at 7 p.m. MDT Thursday at Morgan State's Hill Field House in the second of two TBT semifinal games in Baltimore. Three-time defending TBT champion Overseas Elite and Golden Eagles meet at 5 p.m. in the first semifinal. Both games will be televised on ESPN.
The championship game will be played Friday at 7 p.m., also on ESPN.
“We wanted to show people that Team Fredette is more than a jump-shooting team. We’re really looking forward to Baltimore next week,” Team Fredette coach Mike Taylor told ESPN.