DENVER — They knew exactly what the afternoon brought. What happened to others, and what couldn't happen to them.
While BYU players prepared for their game against No. 14 Wofford, they killed time by watching the tournament in their hotel rooms. And they saw Butler beat Old Dominion at the buzzer. Then Morehead State upset Louisville. Princeton nearly beat Kentucky shortly thereafter. As they waited in their locker room, 50 feet from the floor in the Pepsi Center, they watched the TV mounted on the wall as No. 12 Richmond knocked off No. 5 Vanderbilt.
So, yeah, getting beat by an inferior team was on the team's mind.
"I was definitely aware of that," Jimmer Fredette said after No.3 BYU's somewhat-comfortable 74-66 win over Wofford Thursday night.
"We used it as motivation," Logan Magnusson said.
Noah Hartsock and his roommate, James Anderson, watched the Louisvlle-Morehead State game together. They were riveted. As it became in doubt late, Hartsock said he called game-winning 3-pointer seconds before it happened.
"I told him (Anderson), this 3's going in," Hartsock said. "We knew Wofford would battle, with nothing to lose, but we're in charge of what we can do."
Early, BYU wasn't necessarily on the path of becoming the next victim in Thursday's heartbreaking thrashings, but they weren't playing top-notch ball. It was a tight game early (neither team took a lead larger than five points in the first half), then BYU finally tugged itself away from the Terriers with 4:33 to go in the game, when it got its first double-digit lead of the night.
Fredette led the team, as usual, with 32 points. He passed the 1,000-point plateau for the year, becoming the 19th person in D-I history to do so. The team's now won 31 games, a school record.
It wasn't easy or natural; Fredette short-armed a lot of shots and instead opted for penetration throughout much of the second half. BYU got its win thanks to 32 from No. 32, sure, but Kyle Collinsworth grabbing a career-best 11 boards factors in, as does 10 points from Magnusson, Hartsock and Charles Abuou.
You won't hear much about BYU tonight or tomorrow because it never got threatened late. It took Wofford's best shots, then separated itself. Sometimes, winning boring is a good thing.
Now, BYU has to break through to the second round, something it hasn't done since 1981.
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