It was billed by some as the biggest game in Mountain West Conference basketball history. Fourth-ranked San Diego State played at No.9 BYU.
Sufficed to say there are few people, if any, who remember the last time the college basketball world paid such close attention to a regular season matchup between two MWC schools. For anyone who didn’t stay up late enough –the game started at 10:00 p.m.– or for anyone who doesn’t have CBS College Sports Network, you missed a game that lived up to the hype.
Trust me, I stayed up and watched almost every minute of that game. Jimmer Fredette was masterful, scoring 43 points on 14-for-24 shooting in the Cougars 71-58 win over San Diego State. It was the fifth 40-point game of Fredette’s career.
BYU (20-1, 6-0 MWC) takes sole possession of first place in the Mountain West. San Diego State drops to 20-1 and 5-1.
The most impressive aspect of BYU's win was its defense. San Diego State shot just 25 percent from the field in the second half and 36 percent for the game.
"I really thought we got to their shooters quick," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "And we got to their guards."
Rose was thoroughly amazed by the performance of his top player Fredette
"Tonight he was really special keeping us in the game in the first half," Rose said of Fredette, who's had three 40-point performances in his last four games. "I'm glad we don't have to guard him."
As for Fredette, he pointed to his team's defense and rebonding as the catalyst to the win.
“In the second half we rebounded the ball really well. That was the main key,” Fredette said. “That was a huge win for us. Saturday we have a tough game against New Mexico in the Pit, one of the toughest places to play.”
Don't shed any tears for San Diego State just yet. Steve Fisher's crew will get another shot to beat Cougars on February 26 on their home court.