Gonzaga's Tourney Dance Ends With 89-67 Loss To No. 10 BYU
March 19, 2011
DENVER (AP) - This was Gonzaga's 13th straight trip to the tournament, and unlike BYU, the Zags are frequent visitors to the regionals; they were going for their sixth trip since 1999, but this trip ended with a 89-67 loss to third-seeded Brigham Young.
The Bulldogs were long and quick, played good defense, had a veteran coach in Mark Few and came in on a 10-game winning streak.
Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points Saturday to lift BYU to a victory over 11th-seeded Gonzaga and send the Cougars to New Orleans for the regional semifinals.
It will be BYU's deepest trip in the NCAA tournament since 1981, the year Danny Ainge went coast to coast against Notre Dame for a last-second game-winner - a play that still holds a special place in BYU's rich sports history.
Fredette has a few dozen of his own clips on that highlight reel with a chance to add some more next Thursday against Florida, a 73-65 winner over UCLA on the other side of the Southeast regional.
In this game, the hoop must have seemed as wide as the Mississippi for the nation's leading scorer.
He shot 7 for 12 from 3-point range, and after having trouble getting shots over Gonzaga's tough defense in the first half, he found his rhythm in the second.
He opened the half by pulling up from 5 feet beyond the upper-right part of the 3-point arc and swishing the shot. That triggered an 11-2 run that put BYU up 56-40.
Gonzaga pulled within eight, but with 8:58 left, Fredette made a shot from the exact same spot as part of a 12-0 run that expanded the lead to 20.
Game over, and the rest was simply a matter of seeing where No. 32's scoring line would settle. He came up far short of the 52 points he scored earlier this month in the Mountain West Conference tournament against New Mexico, but had enough to bump that average up a couple notches, to 28.8.
But it wasn't all Fredette. He didn't get his first shot off until almost three minutes into the game and didn't score until the 11:33 mark, which had to seem like dog years for a team that grew even more dependent on its star earlier this month when leading rebounder Brandon Davies was suspended for violating the school's honor code.
For the first time since then, BYU genuinely looked like it had some legitimate second options.
Jackson Emery had two 3-pointers, a layup and a steal during Fredette's early scoring drought. He finished with 16 points. Noah Hartsock (13 points) hit three more 3-pointers to go with the pair he made in BYU's opening 74-66 win against Wofford.
There was no answer for Fredette, who drew some comparisons to a Gonzaga star of a few years ago, high-scoring Adam Morrison, who was also known as "The 'Stache."
The Bulldogs opened the game with Demetri Goodson shadowing The Jimmer and Goodson made it tough for him to find an open shot. He also got two fouls in the first four minutes and had to go to the bench, which is when things started opening up and Fredette found his shot.
As usual, he had no qualms jacking them up from 25, 26, 27 feet and beyond. But he showed his athleticism, too, never more than when he got fouled hard coming down the lane, but had the strength to pull up and shoot a fadeaway 12-footer - good for a three-point play, the old-fashioned way.
That gave BYU an 82-59 lead with 4:39 left.
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