One player performed at a higher level than the rest Wednesday night in Moby Arena. Unfortunately for the Rams, that player wasnâ€™t wearing the green and gold.
BYUâ€™s Jimmer Fredette scored 36 points to lead the Cougars to a 92-70 win over CSU (15-10, 6-5 MWC).
Fredette put on a shooting clinic, scoring on an assortment of quick-strike three pointers in transition, acrobatic drives to the hoop and short jumpers in the paint.
â€œThe numbers heâ€™s putting up are better than player-of-the-year candidates,â€ said CSU head coach Tim Miles. â€œWe knew what he was capable of, and we threw two defenders on him at times, and he can still find ways to hurt you.â€
The junior drained six three-pointers and dished out six assists.
â€œHe gets shots and he creates space. And if you give him a good look, heâ€™ll knock it down,â€ said Ramsâ€™ freshman point guard Dorian Green.
Down 10 at halftime, the Rams were in striking distance of the Cougars. Fredette opened the half with a three, but senior forward Travis Busch responded with four consecutive points to pull the Rams within nine.
That was as close the Rams would get in the second half.
BYU (24-3, 9-2) scored in bunches of 7-0 and 5-0 runs, pushing the lead to as big as 24 with 5:16 left to play.
â€œItâ€™s tough. Youâ€™ve got to play 40 minutes of guarding the ball every possession, and you canâ€™t have defensive lapses at all, or theyâ€™re going to make you pay,â€ said junior forward Andy Ogide.
Ogide scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Junior forward Travis Franklin led the Rams in points, rebounds and assists with 14, seven and five, respectively.
Franklin did most of his damage early, scoring 12 first half points â€“â€“ eight coming from the free throw line.
â€œI just wanted to be aggressive. Coach told me to keep putting pressure on the rim,â€ Franklin said.
Franklin was the most effective offensive option for the Rams in the first half. CSU only shot 30 percent in the period and half of their 28 points came from the free throw line.
â€œI thought we were a little jittery, a little nervous on offense,â€ Miles said. â€œThe guys were excited; they were excited to play against BYU. The first half was the tempo we wanted, we just didnâ€™t make shots.â€
BYU did make shots. The Cougars shot 51 percent from the field and 48 percent from three-point range. Guard Emery Jackson added 16 points and forward Noah Hartsock finished with 12.
â€œThey move the ball so well and so quickly, that it is so hard to catch up with the ball. And they share it so well, itâ€™s just hard to keep up,â€ Miles said. â€œEvery guy that catches it can make threes.â€
Five Rams scored in double figures: Busch (10), Green (10) and freshman guard Greg Smith (11).
The Rams have now dropped eight straight to the Cougars.
â€œThey happen to have our number. Weâ€™re not going to let this get to us too much, weâ€™re just going to get ready for UNLV,â€ Ogide said.
The Rams play UNLV Saturday in Las Vegas.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.