This past week in college basketball, a star was born.
On Wednesday night, senior guard Jimmer Fredette led his ninth-ranked Brigham Young University Cougars to a 71-58 victory over No. 4 San Diego State. Fredette, the nation’s leading scorer, scored forty-three points, almost sixteen points higher than his 27.6 points per game average.
Fredette was crazy good. He shot an incredible fifty-eight percent from the floor, including a sixty-three percent three-point percentage and sunk ten of eleven free throws. His near-perfect performance was broadcast live to a national TV audience, and had the quality of star-making performance that could become the stuff of legend.
The first half was back and forth. San Diego State sophomore, Kawhi Leonard, led his team with thirteen points. However, Fredette proved to be Leonard’s match and more. His 20 points in the first half kept the Cougars in the game, but a late Leonard three gave the Aztecs a one-point lead going into halftime.
The second half began in much of the same way, with the scoring going back and forth for the first ten minutes, but with the game tied at 44, Fredette took over. He led the Cougars on a 16-8 run in which he hit two three-pointers en route to a 60-52 BYU lead with a little more than four minutes to go.
Leonard pulled the Aztecs back to within six, but Fredette dominated the final three minutes. He made seven consecutive free throws to bring the lead back to thirteen, which held up in the final score of 71-58.
Fredette’s forty-three points only added to his celebrity on what was clearly his night. The sold-out crowd of over 22,000 Cougar faithful was in strong support of Fredette all night, starting chants such as “You Got Jimmered,” or holding up signs that proclaimed Fredette as “the real King James,” (in reference to Lebron James’ nickname).
Fredette’s performance was not merely a setting-off point for his own success in basketball, but also shined a light on the Mountain West conference, which has established itself as a formidable force in the NCAA with the matchup of these two Top-10 teams.
Brigham Young is now 20-2 (6-1 in the MWC) and is in first place in their conference. Fredette has scored over 40 points in three of his past five games. It is clear from his star-making performance that he, and the Cougars, will be a forced to be reckoned with in the NCAA March Madness tournament.