Jimmer Fredette hammers Vermont in return to hometown

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Jimmer Fredette recognized the faces as he scanned the sellout crowd: the friends, the former teammates, the family members who have always been in his corner.

Then he gave them exactly what they came for.

Returning to this city of 14,000, Fredette scored 26 points to lift BYU (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) past Vermont 86-58 on Wednesday night.

"You remember all the days that you went through with your friends and family to be in this situation," the senior guard and AP Preseason All-America said. "I really love it here and it's always been close to my heart."

Fredette made his first three shots and led the Cougars in scoring for the eighth time in their nine victories to open the season. He was 9 of 19 from the field, and the Cougars shot 56 percent overall.

Vermont had to contend with a partisan crowd speckled with red, the color of Glens Falls High School, which fell in the Class A state title game in this building in 2007. Fredette was 3 of 24 from the field in that game.

This time, he got a better ending.

Fredette's 3-point play with 8:23 remaining put the Cougars up by 20 points, but it was his behind-the-back assist to Kyle Collinsworth on the next trip down court that electrified the crowd.

"I wanted to give the fans a little bit of a show," Fredette said.

After playing 34 minutes, Fredette left to an extended standing ovation to cap a night that wasn't always a certainty. BYU had struggled to schedule the homecoming contest some 2,200 miles from home before City Hall got involved.

"Jimmer was terrific. I've been through quite a few homecomings as a coach and this is the most unique," BYU's Dave Rose said. "But that just goes to Jimmer and how special a player he's been."

Noah Hartsock had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Davies added 12 points for the Cougars (9-0).

Brendan Bald scored 14 points for the Catamounts (6-2), the home team in name only who scored the opening basket but never held another lead. Evan Fjeld, who had been averaging 21 points for Vermont, was held to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in 31 minutes.

Vermont had been off to its best start since 1956.

"I'm glad that's over," Vermont coach Mike Lonergan said. "I had a bad feeling even in practice last night. But I'd rather be here than in some low-level Division I game in front of 400 people on the road."

BYU used a 14-4 run to take a 38-25 halftime lead.

Despite hitting six 3s, Vermont struggled from the field, shooting 35 percent.

BYU, which scored 15 points on the fastbreak, used a 14-4 run to take a 38-25 halftime lead.

Former BYU great and current Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was part of a standing room only crowd that took in the "Hometown Classic," the biggest sporting event in this city in some time.

Ainge is still No. 1 on BYU's all-time scoring list. Fredette moved up to eighth.