Jimmer Fredette didn’t have an easy day against Air Force. The BYU guard and national player of the year candidate scored 22 points, but that is three points less than his season average and he hit just 6-of-14 shots.
“As a team we wanted to limit what he was getting,” guard Todd Fletcher said. “I think we did well. I think we executed our gameplan on him.”
The Falcons played what looked like a box-and-one zone defense, with Fletcher following around Fredette and denying him the ball most of the game, but coach Jeff Reynolds said it was just Air Force’s matchup zone that was extended to contain Fredette.
“He’s a terrific player — I thought he should have gone to the draft last year,” Reynolds joked. “I was praying.”
Hempsey, Fitzgerald contribute
Reserves Shawn Hempsey and Mike Fitzgerald each got a lot of playing time in the game’s final minutes. Part of that was foul trouble — Evan Washington, Michael Lyons and Derek Brooks all finished the game with four fouls — but the coaches liked what they saw from Fitzgerald and Hempsey, who are eighth and ninth on the team in minutes played.
“I thought both of them gave us a lift,” Reynolds said.
Fitzgerald scored 13 points, which tied a career high that he set last season at BYU. Hempsey scored two points and played well on the defensive end.
A few times after the game, Reynolds pointed to BYU’s offensive rebounds as a factor in the 10-point loss. The Cougars missed 33 shots, but grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. They scored 18 second-chance points.
“They have too many weapons to give up that many offensive rebounds,” Reynolds said.