BYU avoids the Denver upset bug

DENVER -- The buzz from upset wins by Morehead State and Richmond still lingered when BYU took the court at the Pepsi Center. The Cougars knew all about what had happened earlier in the day and certainly didn’t want it to happen to them.

By the time BYU got done with Wofford, order had been restored. It was business as usual, with Jimmer Fredette scoring 32 points in a 74-66 second-round win on Thursday.

And unlike last season when Fredette’s monster game against Florida gave BYU its first NCAA tournament victory in 17 years, the Cougars hope this is just the start of a march to the Sweet 16.

“Last year was a euphoric atmosphere,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “Guys were jumping around.

“Guys today were happy with the win and look forward to the next challenge. This team is pretty business-like.”

Wofford actually felt it did a decent job on Fredette, a sign of just how dangerous the nation’s leading scorer is. He was 10-of-25 from the field and only 2-of-9 from beyond the arc, but other players stepped up for BYU.

Charles Abouo scored eight straight points at one point to extend the lead to 14 while Noah Hartsock and Logan Magnusson knocked down two 3-pointers apiece. Fredette finished with seven assists.

“Those assists come to those guys who are ready to make a play.” Rose said. “We had three or four guys able to knock them down.”

Said Fredette: “They were trying to force me left, so I kept going left and went to the basket.”

His passing helped showcase once again that no, the Cougars are not just a one-man team. Abouo, Hartsock and Magnusson scored 10 points apiece, and Kyle Collinsworth collected 11 rebounds. These are players who still have to prove that there’s a successful future after Brandon Davies was lost for the season.

Wofford kept the game close, with Noah Dahlman scoring 22 points, but the No. 14-seeded Terriers didn’t shoot well from the perimeter and couldn’t come up with baskets when they needed them. Jamar Diggs (5-for-14), Cameron Rundles (5-for-14) and Brad Loesing (3-for-10) all struggled.

“Had you told us our team would do a great job on Fredette, I thought we would have won the game,” Wofford coach Mike Young said.

Diggs felt he did a good job on Fredette, but it wasn’t enough. “He’s deceptively quick,” Diggs said. “You look at him and think you’re in front of him, and then he’s by you.”

BYU wasn’t going to suffer an upset, not with Fredette leading the way and not with the team’s complementary players performing their best. After witnessing Louisville and Vanderbilt go through it, the Cougars collectively told themselves the ride wasn’t going to end.

“A lot of the guys saw it and said, ‘Let’s not let that happen to us,’” Magnusson said.