Well I was completely wrong! Through the first two games of the NCAA Tournament, I thought there was no way Jimmer Fredette and the BYU Cougars would lose in their Regional Tournament. It was a stretch of me to pick them to win the whole thing, but even in my mind, I thought that they could get out of their region. Thank you Alex Tyus and Billy Donovan for proving me wrong.
Florida played great defense all night. If they hadn’t turned the ball over eight times in the first half, BYU would have been in serious trouble way before the overtime period began. But they did the most important thing: Shut down Jimmer Fredette. And I know he put up 32 points, but it took him over ten minutes to score, and he did not score in overtime. 22 of his points came in the second half, and the Jimmer-range long three that he sunk from his home town of Glens Falls, NY with 5 minutes in regulation was the highlight of the night.
But when it mattered, Florida shut him down. 0-5 from three point land in overtime, and no points. A lot of people will say Jimmer’s poor shooting (11-29) was the reason why BYU lost. But that’s not true. Florida dominated this game inside. I didn’t see the number of points scored in the paint, but I’m positive that Florida outscored them by a lot, in that category. Alex Tyus, Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin combined for 44 points in the front court. Add in the stellar guard play by both Kenny Boynton and Earving Walker, both scoring in double digits, it was a format for success. But the success of the interior play by Florida opened up the kick-out play that burned BYU twice in overtime, with Walker and Parsons banging home two big threes.
And BYU didn’t shoot well. Outside of Jimmer, BYU shot 14-52, and 7-22 on 3PFGs. After Jackson Emory hit three big threes in the first 7 minutes of the game, he went 0-5 the rest of the way. Charles Abouo and Noah Hartsock combined to go 5-18 and 1-7 for threes. So no one was hitting shots, not just Jimmer.
Despite it all, Jimmer nearly single-handedly willed his team to the Elite Eight. He was flawless from the foul line. He put up thirty-two points, and that was with two and sometimes three men on him!! The difference was that Abouo and Hartsock could not hit water if they fell off a boat. While I’m on the topic of Abouo, I should point out that one of Abouo’s two made shots came with 20 seconds left in OT when the game was well out of reach. Great time to hit a shot, Charlie.
I hope Jimmer has a career in the NBA, but I do not know. He is a scorer, and he does have a great ability to pass the ball (5 assists last night, which was a team high). He had one of the best season’s in recent memory. I wish him the best of success down the road.