Despite late push, Eberlein Drive made life difficult for Jimmer

 

By: KJ Edelman | @kyle_edelman


Eberlein Drive limited Jimmer to a tournament-low 24 points on Thursday

Jimmer Fredette was starting to look like himself again.

After only scoring eight points in the first half, Fredette was looking to heat up in the third quarter of the team's semifinals game against Eberlein Drive. In due part, Eberlein Drive started to press Fredette the moment he got close to the perimeter. Unlike the four games prior where Fredette averaged 32.8 points per game, he wasn’t getting looks he was willing to shoot early in the game.

But as the score tightened, he looked to break out his scoring dry spell. As Team Fredette cut the lead to only four points, Fredette found a wrinkle in head coach David Nurse’s system: the transition game.

Down 65-61, Fredette pulled up from 30 feet, at least three feet past the Puma logo, and leaned into a three that capped off a 10-0 run for Team Fredette.

The crowd roared. Fredette was mobbed by his teammates. But on the opposing bench, there was no worry.

“When you’re guarding a guy like Jimmer” Eberlein Drive’s Jerome Randle said, “You can’t beat him with one person. We threw four guys at him -- even put some bigs on him -- but he’s a tough matchup … We buckled down.”

After the Elam Ending went into effect, Fredette scrambled from baseline to baseline looking for space. The perimeter was locked.

Nearing the final points, Fredette opted away from threes -- the shot that gained him national attention at BYU and more in TBT 2018 -- and took it inside. But with forward James Michael McAdoo manning the middle, he didn’t have clean shots.

As McAdoo recovered a loose ball to clinch the game, 80-76, on a dunk, Fredette was left unraveled. Fredette finished with 24 points including zero field goals during the Elam Ending.

Eberlein Drive stuck to its “Jimmer gameplan” throughout, Donald Sloan said. Eberlein Drive’s goal was to throw a ton of matchups at once while making other players on Team Fredette beat them in crunch time.

When Sloan and Randle lock up the player their opponent’s team is named after, they got an advantage because Team Fredette’s secondary stars were forced to rise to the occasion.

Fredette, the tournament’s most recognizable star in 2018, couldn’t stage another comeback behind his long-range shooting. So, he went home empty handed.

 

 

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