8Gonzaga
BYU
67 - 89 Final
  for this game

Fredette, BYU top Gonzaga to reach Sweet 16

Mar 20, 2011 - 3:26 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Jimmer Fredette did what he normally does, hitting long-range threes and scoring in bunches.

And BYU did what it normally does, following its Player of the Year candidate to another win.

Fredette buried seven three-pointers and scored 34 points, leading BYU into the Sweet 16 with an 89-67 victory over tournament-tested Gonzaga on Saturday.

"They were just falling tonight," said Fredette. "Sometimes that happens."

Jackson Emery added 16 points and Noah Hartsock scored 13 for the Cougars (32-4), who outscored Gonzaga 44-29 in the second half to pull away for the win.

Seeded third in the Southeast Region, the Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since Danny Ainge's 1981 team. They will face No. 2 seed Florida in New Orleans on Thursday.

Gonzaga (25-10) had a 10-game winning streak snapped, ending hopes of another NCAA Tournament run that began with a convincing upset of sixth-seeded St. John's on Thursday.

The 11th-seeded Bulldogs were led by 18 points apiece from Elias Harris and Steven Gray and 17 points from Robert Sacre. It was their first loss since February 5 against Memphis.

It was the first-ever meeting between the two programs, but there will be many more. BYU is moving from the Mountain West to Gonzaga's West Coast Conference next year.

The good news for Gonzaga? Fredette, the nation's leading scorer, is a senior.

"Believe it or not, I felt we defended him OK," said Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. "I mean, he got 34 points on 23 shots."

Said Gonzaga's Gray: "He can shoot it out just about anywhere, as soon as he steps on the floor."

After a slow start on the Pepsi Center hardwood, Fredette scored 14 points in the first half, leading BYU to a 45-38 lead at the break. Most of them came on his 4-for-6 shooting from three-point range (he was 7-of-12 for the game).

Fredette's most important three, however, was probably the one he knocked down to open the second half. It came several feet behind the arc on the right side and started an 11-2 run that gave the Cougars a 56-40 lead.

Moments later, Fredette found one of his teammates with a behind-the-head pass near the elbow, leading to a basket. It was one of his six assists.

Unable to keep the Cougars from scoring, Gonzaga didn't challenge BYU's lead the rest of the way.

"I thought for 40 minutes, we might have been as good as we've been all year," said BYU head coach Dave Rose.

It was Fredette's teammates who kept BYU in the game early on. Emery scored eight of the Cougars' first 15 points before Fredette even got on the board, including a three-pointer that tied the game at 15-15.

"I take a lot of pride in setting the tone," said Emery. "Jimmer is going to demand so much attention because of the player he is. But the most important thing is that his supporting cast hit shots."

Moments later, Fredette hit his first shot -- a three at the 11:31 mark that gave BYU an 18-17 lead. Later, he scored eight points during an 11-3 run that gave the Cougars the lead for good.

He capped the burst in vintage Fredette fashion, picking up his dribble for a long three-pointer near the top of the arc.

"You have off nights, then you come back and have good nights. Kind of the law of percentages throughout the year," Fredette said of his night. "I just felt good tonight."

Game Notes

Fredette has 66 points in the tournament. He scored 32 to stoke BYU's victory over 14th-seeded Wofford on Thursday...Gonzaga, making its 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAAs, was hoping to reach the Sweet 16 for the sixth time...The Cougars will officially leave the Mountain West Conference on June 30, with every sport moving to the WCC except football. BYU was co-champion of the Mountain West this season and reached the championship game of the conference tournament before falling to San Diego State...SDSU is also in the Sweet 16 after beating Temple earlier Saturday...BYU is 5-2 since starter Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team for violating the school's honor code earlier this month.