LARAMIE, Wyo. — With the temperature 23-below outside, Jimmer Fredette and Brigham Young broke the ice inside when it counted most to lead the No. 8 Cougars over Wyoming.
Fredette converted a key three-point play with 47 seconds left as BYU survived Wyoming 69-62 on Wednesday night despite the Cougars being held to 40.7 percent shooting from the field and well below its team scoring average of 84.9 points.
“We didn't shoot the ball as well as we wanted to and didn't play as well as we wanted to,” said Fredette, who shot 7 for 21 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3-point range. “But ... they were prepared for us, and we were just able to get a win and that's what we came down to do.”
Fredette, who entered the game leading the NCAA with a 27.6 per game scoring average, scored 26 points and Brandon Davies had 20 to lead BYU (21-2, 7-1 Mountain West).
“Wyoming did a great job attacking his penetration lanes all night long,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “I thought we did a much better job of getting space for him and spreading out the floor a little bit, and Jimmer just made a great play.”
After the Cowboys closed to 64-62 on two free throws by Djibril Thiam with 29 seconds to go, Davies, who also pulled down nine rebounds, converted his own three-point play 12 seconds later for a 67-62 lead.
Fredette then finished off the scoring with a pair of free throws.
Jackson Emery added 12 points for the Cougars, who shot 5-of-24, 21 percent, from 3.
“Defensively they did such a great job challenging our 3-point shots,” Rose said.
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Desmar Jackson led Wyoming (8-14, 1-7) with 23 points, while Francisco Cruz added 16 points and nine rebounds. The Cowboys, who shot 41 percent from the field, lost their sixth straight game and 12th in a row to the Cougars.
“I told our guys that we had to keep the mentality of playing to win,” Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said. “We didn't want to fall into a situation where we were playing not to lose, and our kids did a great job of maintaining that attitude to the end.”
The teams were tied 28-all at halftime, with Fredette scoring 11 points after starting the game 0-4 from the field. His first points came on a 3-pointer at the 10:45 mark. Meantime, Jackson paced the Cowboys with 10 points.
BYU built a pair of 10-point leads in the second half — the biggest lead for either team during the game — going ahead 61-51 with 5:31 remaining on a tip-in by Davies.
But the Cougars went cold with Fredette and Davies missing layups and free throws while Wyoming chipped away at the BYU lead. Jackson capped a 9-0 run with a free throw at the 2:05 mark to pull the Cowboys within a point.
But Wyoming missed two chances to take the lead when Jackson and Thiam both stepped out of bounds on back-to-back possessions before Fredette ended the BYU scoring drought with driving underhanded layup off the glass that also drew a foul for his three-point play.
Rose said he felt lucky to get out of cold Laramie with a win.
“But sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky to keep going,” he said.