Sacre, Gonzaga can't stop Jimmer

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

Don’t blame Robert Sacre.

The West Vancouver native did all he could to advance his Gonzaga Bulldogs past heavily favoured Brigham Young Cougars, but in the end Jimmer Fredette - the NCAA’s best scorer - would not be denied.

Sacre scored 17 points, added eight rebounds and four blocks, dominating play inside, but Jimmer Fredette nailed seven three-pointers in a 34-point performance.

Gonzaga trailed by just seven at the half, but was outscored by 15 in the second as Fredette took over in a 89-67 Cougars win.

Early on the team with three Canadians, including 7-foot Sacre and near-7-footer Kelly Olynyk of Kamloops B.C. kept it close.

The Bulldogs trailed by just 10 almost half-way through the second half before an 11-2 run ignited by a Fredette three that seemingly dropped in from half-court blew the game open.

When Gonzaga made another run, Fredette nailed another deep three to start another 12-0 run.

Gonzaga did a solid job of holding Fredette in check in the first half and Sacre’s inside presence was giving BYU head coach Dave Rose fits.

“They’re killing us inside, we have to find a way to get them further away from the basket, make it more difficult for them,” lamented Rose at halftime.

Led by Sacre, Gonzaga crushed BYU on the boards as expected, but only Sacre, Olynyk (five points, two rebounds) and two others managed 50% or better from the field as the Bulldogs were held to 42.1% shooting. Meanwhile, Fredette cashed in 11-of-23 and his mates were even better, going 52.5% from the field, 14-29 from three (seven by Fredette) to Gonzaga’s 2-9.

Fredette and Sacre jawed with each other at times and Sacre blocked a couple of his shots, but the guard had the last laugh on the big man with his latest scoring bonanza.

Amazingly, he didn’t even score until the 11:33 mark of the game.

But Fredette has tallied at least 30 points in six of his last seven games - including a 52 point explosion earlier this month – for a reason.

His outbursts have now become expected.

With Fredette quiet early, Jackson Emery and Noah Hartsock stepped up, scoring 16 and 13 points respectively including three triples each.

Now BYU, the most pious team in the tournament – its best big man was booted off the team for having relations with his girlfriend – will head to wild and wacky New Orleans.

Not since soon-to-be Blue Jay Danny Ainge led the way 30 years ago has BYU been this far in the tournament.

The Florida Gators await. Will that always stingy defensive program have the answer for Fredette that everybody else has lacked?

We’ll find out on Thursday.

For Gonzaga, it was another disappointing exit and possibly the end of the Sacre era.

The big man might consider jumping to the NBA, or he could return for another shot with Olynyk, Edmonton’s Manny Arop and Holland Landing Ont. point guard Kevin Pangos.


Videos

Photos