It was the first round in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. 7-seed BYU taking on 10-seed Florida, a young squad that barely eked into the field of 65. The game was played in Oklahoma City, and the BYU Cougars had dropped seven straight first round tournament games.
BYU had a rising star in Junior guard Jimmer Fredette, who was averaging 22 points and nearly five assists a game. Those were fairly solid numbers, and he was just slowly but surely pulling himself into the national spotlight.
Florida was a very young team, with three juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman in their starting lineup (the same starting lineup of Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus, Erving Walker, and Kenny Boynton that they use this year) They also only used two or three solid guys off the bench in Dan Werner and Erik Murphy with the occasional and unfortunate Ray Shipman appearance.
The game between these two similar teams started out with a few words from Mr. Fredette himself, speaking on Chandler Parsons and his clutch tendencies: "No game-winning shots tonight." Little did anyone know how prophetic and accurate those words were.
The actual basketball was slow and very even, the first half ending with the Cougars up 35-33, Fredette had seemed quiet, but in truth had tallied up eight points by the midway point (or at least it seemed like the midway point)
The second half wasn't much better, with Florida finding themselves up by one with two free throws coming for Vernon Macklin, who missed the first and drained the second. Then Jimmer, in Jimmer-like fashion, made a clutch drive and easy layup his 26th and 27th points of the game. The game was put (for the first time) into Chandler Parsons' very capable hands. He missed a contested jumper.
Now people were tuning their TV's to see this one, as it headed to overtime. The first OT period started well for the Gators, as they claimed the first four points, but a 6-2 BYU run led solely by Michael Lloyd Jr. tied the game up, and Kenny Boynton, Florida's freshman phenom, missed a layup to win it.
Now all games that were running were giving you live look-ins, and all TV's were tuned to CBS, as the players prepped for the 2OT period.
Thanks to some clutch shooting by Lloyd Jr. and Fredette, the Cougars jumped out to a five- point lead and never looked back. Fredette had 10 points in those critical five minutes, including two free throws to ice it late in the period. The Jimster, Jim Jam, Jimmer Fredette led his squad of Jimmers to the second round!
Fredette finished the contest with 37 points and three assists, and now he was on the map. BYU would use his talents this year to take the Cougars all the way to the Sweet 16 where, guess who they're facing? Yeah, Florida once again.
We can only hope round two will live up to the standards set in the first epic battle.
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