This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

San Diego

They dressed like LDS missionaries ... well, LDS missionaries who might have sneaked away to Mardi Gras, or gone off on a five-day bender. They held up signs that had all sorts of messages, some of them actually publishable in a family newspaper, though still edgy, including: "You Need More White Dudes," and "Jimmer Fredette Is a False Idol," and "Hi, Moms." They conjured up a collective noise that sounded like a volcano making love to a hurricane. And, ultimately, they left the building early, heartbroken by what they had just witnessed.

Some of them threw water bottles on the court, some chucked wadded-up paper at BYU players, others berated Cougar fans, but most were just plain silenced and ticked. And impressed.

No. 7 BYU went ahead and beat No. 6 San Diego State here, 80-67, right in the grill of The Show, a student section as loud and raucous, as clever and creative and crass, as any in the country, and the rest of a full-up Viejas Arena, as well as a national television audience, in a regular-season game as big as either program had ever played in.

It didn't necessarily happen the way Jimmerheads wanted it to happen. But it happened nonetheless, and, afterward, Jimmer seemed as pleased as anyone.

"We were just really, really excited to win this game," he said. "It's a huge game. … I thought our team did a great job of just making shots and getting rebounds, getting loose balls, doing things that we needed to do."

Fredette's team did something else, too: It bailed him out.

It wasn't that he was pathetic. Jimmer clearly struggled from the field, making just 8 of 23 shots, sometimes squeezing off scuds that sailed without drawing anything, long shots that ignited transition baskets the other way. At one point, he missed six straight attempts. He gagged up four turnovers, including a bumble near midcourt that led to an Aztec dunk.

Here's the explanation: He was being defended by madmen, skilled and athletic SDSU defenders who collapsed on him like a brick wall in an earthquake. He also was getting hit, without getting the call. That happened at least a half-dozen times.

But that's now the real life of Jimmer Fredette.

He gets glory. He gets hacked. He gets wins.

As Jim Boylen said after BYU beat the Utes, Fredette is the hardest player in college ball to officiate. Why? Because he constantly shoves the action straight at the defense, forcing an unending flurry of judgement calls — and, in some cases, a lack of calls — from start to finish.

In this game, he didn't shoot a free throw until the 13:38 mark of the second half.

What Fredette did do was still manage to score 25 points. More importantly, he drew away much of the SDSU attention from suddenly open shooters, serving up nine assists, hitting players like Charles Abouo and Noah Hartsock and Jackson Emery, who combined for 46 points on 16-for-28 shooting. Aside from Jimmer, the Cougars made 19 of 35.

"When they had to make a basket, somebody made a basket, and it was never the same somebody," said Aztecs coach Steve Fisher.

It was slightly ironic that in this, the most anticipated, noted, and watched BYU game of the season, the most famous college basketball player in the country dramatically needed his teammates to get the victory.

Jimmer and the Pips, the Cougars were not on this occasion.

They are a team, after all.

"I've been telling everybody, all of the media, all year long that it's not just me, it's our team," Fredette said. "I keep telling them that if [opponents] are going to double-team me, I'm going to try to get it to my teammates, and they are going to make shots. And that's why we've been winning games this whole year.

"If they don't double-team me, then it's my time to be aggressive and score the basketball until they have to. That's what makes our team good. I'm glad that more people were able to see that; that our team is very good."

So good, apparently, if the Cougars clean up the mess against New Mexico and Wyoming, and then storm through the Mountain West tournament in Vegas, they could end up with a No. 1 seed, or a No. 2, when they go dancing in a couple of weeks. For a program that hasn't exactly established itself in that realm in the past, such a notion, until now, might have been disregarded as kooky talk.

Not anymore.

Even The Show, as it hurled debris, had to agree.

"By our RPI, and by this conference's RPI, and our record in the league, we should get some pretty good consideration," Dave Rose said. "… I hope people across the country got to see that this is a very good team — with a couple of really special players on it."

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 104.7 FM/1280 AM The Zone. He can be reached at