BYU played well with Jimmer Fredette bothered by an illness earlier this month. It should be even better now that its star is getting healthier.
The 14th-ranked Cougars seek their first 14-game winning streak in 83 seasons while trying for a 10th consecutive victory over visiting Wyoming on Wednesday night in a Mountain West Conference matchup.
Still recovering from strep throat and mononucleosis, Fredette scored 21 points Saturday as BYU (18-1, 3-0) recorded its 16th straight home victory, 91-47 over Colorado State.
Averaging a league-leading 19.9 points, the junior guard missed two games and scored 15 total while playing limited minutes in two others since notching a career-high 49 points in a 99-69 win at Arizona on Dec. 28.
BYU has won 15 straight games when Fredette has scored at least 20.
“I’m now able to go through my daily routine,” Fredette said. “I felt pretty winded - I think the winded part had to do with not playing much the last four games. You have to get back in game shape.”
Though Fredette still isn’t in top form, his latest effort came in just 24 minutes, and showed he’s recovering quite well. That’s bad news for BYU’s opponents, who consistently face a major challenge against one of the deepest teams in the nation that averaged 80.5 points in the four victories with Fredette out or playing sparingly.
“This group here, we’ve won in so many different ways,” said BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team has a chance to start 19-1 for the first time since 1987-88. “That’s the sign of a team that can overcome a lot of things.”
Trying to win 14 in a row for the first time since 1916-17, the Cougars have four players averaging double figures in scoring. They are second in the country shooting 51.3 percent and average 83.9 points per contest.
Senior Jonathan Tavernari (10.3 points per game) scored 14 points off the bench and freshman Tyler Haws (11.5 ppg) added 11 against Colorado State.
“We feel like we have a really deep team. We hope that helps us down the road,” said Fredette, who averaged 21.5 points on 57.7 percent shooting in two games against Wyoming last season.
BYU has won four in a row at home over Wyoming (8-10, 1-3) since losing 59-58 to the Cowboys on Feb. 12, 2005 - also its last loss in the series.
The Cougars are averaging 81.0 points while holding Wyoming to 42.3 percent shooting and 69.4 points during their nine-game winning streak in the series.
Afam Muojeke had 11 points in Wyoming’s 78-68 home loss to BYU on March 4 in the teams’ most recent meeting. The sophomore swingman is averaging 14.0 points in two career games against the Cougars, but is second in the Mountain West at 17.9 points per contest this season.
He had 16 as the Cowboys dropped their second game in a row, 70-68 to New Mexico on Saturday. Though Wyoming is averaging 78.1 points this season, it’s giving up a league-worst 74.6.
Wyoming has lost 10 consecutive games against Top 25 opponents since winning 73-66 over then-No. 6 Gonzaga in the first round of the 2002 NCAA tournament.