This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • The BYU-UNLV basketball rivalry has been fairly even in BYU coach Dave Rose's six-year tenure, with the series tied at 6-6 if you don't count the Rebels' three wins over the Cougars in Mountain West Conference tournament games.
The same can't be said for the rivalry between BYU's Jimmer Fredette and UNLV's Tre'Von Willis, which simmers below the surface even if the Cougars' star downplays it and doesn't like to acknowledge it.
Fredette outplayed Willis again on Saturday, scoring 29 points and registering seven assists in a 78-64 win. Willis was 3 of 11 from the field en route to 15 points.
Before the game, Willis bumped knuckles with BYU's other four starters, but ignored Fredette, who certainly noticed.
"I didn't shake nobody's hand," said Willis, who is 7 for 27 against BYU this year. "Everybody came up to me to shake my hand.
"I am ready to play. I am not worried about shaking anybody's hand."
With 23 seconds remaining and the game well out of reach, Willis had some words for Fredette, but when asked what they were, said, "it was nothing."
Fredette's take: "We are just competitive guys. … Nothing too bad. But nothing that needs to be [repeated] here."
Before BYU's 89-77 win in Las Vegas, Willis said that Fredette, with whom he battled for the league's Player of the Year award last year (New Mexico's Darington Hobson won it), was "supposedly" the best player in the league this year.
Saturday morning, he was quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal saying that Fredette "wants to shoot the ball every single time" and is only interested in scoring, not assists.
Fredette acknowledged getting some motivation out of the January comments, but claimed he hadn't heard about the latest ones.
"You know, it really doesn't matter," Fredette said. "Whatever he says doesn't matter to me. The only thing that matters to me is us going out and getting victories, winning the game and doing well."
In the two games this season, Fredette had 12 assists. Willis had five.
Runnin' with the Rebels
BYU's Jimmer Fredette vs. UNLV in 2011:
Date Score FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA Pts Ast
Feb. 5 BYU 78, UNLV 64 6-14 1-5 16-16 29 7
Jan. 5 BYU 89, UNLV 77 12-25 7-13 8-10 39 5