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This time, BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette's hometown fans are going to have to drive a bit to see him play.
The No. 16 Cougars will play in New York again on Thursday, but on the other side of the state from Glens Falls, where the Dec. 8 "Jimmer Game" drew a capacity crowd of more than 6,000 at the Civic Center.
The State University of New York at Buffalo is a five-hour drive from Glens Falls, but Fredette expects between 75-100 family members and friends will make the trek west for the 5 p.m MST game at 6,100-seat Alumni Arena.
"My dad said to get as many tickets [from teammates, who are allotted four apiece] as I could, so there's going to be a good following out there," Fredette said Monday night after the Cougars practice. … Obviously, the whole place won't be BYU fans like it was in Glens Falls. There will probably be more Buffalo fans than BYU fans, but we will see."
The Bulls (7-3) of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) average 1,500 fans for home games.
Fredette, who is averaging 24.2 points per game, fifth-most in NCAA Division I basketball, said he appreciates being able to return to his home state for another game.
"Because it is not in my hometown, or close to my hometown, it definitely won't be as much pressure, because you are playing an away game and it is still pretty far away, even though you will have a lot of family and friends there," Fredette said.
Buffalo was low on the list of options when BYU went looking for a game in Fredette's home state "In the 30s or 40s," he said but the schools kept in touch after the game in Glens Falls was booked. When the Bulls agreed to a home-and-home deal they will play in Provo next year BYU decided it was worth the 2,000-plus-mile trip for one game.
"I thought that if Jimmer knew he was going back two times, it wouldn't put so much pressure on one game," coach Dave Rose said. "But, come on, that game at Glens Falls was unbelievable. We could have scheduled 10 games back there and the pressure of that game [wouldn't have decreased]. It was really unique."
The Cougars left Provo late Tuesday afternoon.
Carlino comes to play
Matt Carlino, the 6-foot-3 point guard who announced last week he was transferring from UCLA to BYU, practiced with the Cougars for the first time on Monday. He has enrolled at BYU for winter semester and must pay his own tuition.
He will be eligible to play in a game next December, after final exams are completed.
"It feels good," Carlino said of his first practice. "I got winded real fast. Everyone gives me the excuse that it is the altitude. But I am just out of shape. It was really fun playing with the guys. I have watched them twice in person [vs. Arizona and UTEP]. But to be out playing with them was really fun."
No. 16 BYU at Buffalo
P Thursday, 5 p.m.
TV • None