PROVO -- For the first time during the Dave Rose era, BYU defeated UNLV in Las Vegas, 89-77, on Wednesday.
“This is a really competitive group,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I thought we’d have a chance in the second half if we could stay with them and sustain their runs in the first half. I thought we spaced the floor really well and shared the ball, and we have a great player in Jimmer (Fredette).”
“I was happy for our two senior guards,” Rose said. “It was big for them to get a win here.”
The game was neck-and-neck for the first ten minutes of play as both teams struggled with shooting early on. After the Cougars took a 15-12 lead, the Rebels went on an 13-0 run to take their largest lead of the night with the score 25-15. The Cougars shot 5-of-25 in the opening 14 minutes of play as BYU struggled to battle back.
However, Emery and Fredette got hot in the following 26 minutes. Three treys from Fredette and a dunk by Davies ignited the Cougars as they pulled within two of UNLV, 32-30. BYU would eventually take a 38-35 lead to go into the half off yet another Fredette three-pointer. After beginning the half 1-for-6, Fredette ended the half with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
On the opening scoring play of the second half, Emery fed Noah Hartsock for an and-one layup. The combined forces of Emery and Fredette tallied eleven points in the first 4:30 of the second half to extend the Cougar lead to 52-38. Logan Magnusson took an elbow to the face with 13:49 remaining, resulting in a technical foul call. Less than a minute later another technical foul was called on the UNLV bench. Fredette sank 3-of-4 on the technical foul shots to give BYU a 57-42 lead.
Seven-straight Emery points allowed BYU to extend the lead to 17. A layup by Davies and a Fredette three-pointer from beyond NBA range gave the Cougars an 18-point advantage with 7:53 remaining.
The Rebels did not go down without a fight, cutting the Cougar lead to 10 after going on a 13-2 run but another Fredette trey would silence the Thomas & Mack Center crowd momentarily. Still, four straight UNLV points cut the BYU lead to eight. Time ran out for the Rebels though as they would be forced to foul and send Fredette to line to close out the victory.
The Cougars face Air Force on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center. Listen to the game live on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM. The game will be televised live on The Mtn.