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Bulls Prepare to Face Nationally Ranked Opponent

Senior Sports Editor

Published: Monday, December 6, 2010

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11

120610- fredette

Source: byucougars.com

BYU point guard, Jimmer Fredette, is likely to be a valiant opponent for the Bulls.

The most compelling game of the Buffalo college basketball season may just be while most students are preparing for New Year's in their hometowns during winter break.

The Bulls (4-3) will host No. 21 Brigham Young University (8-0) at Alumni Arena on Thursday, Dec. 30. This will mark the first game against a nationally ranked opponent at home for Buffalo since Connecticut visited Alumni Arena in 2008.

Coming into the season, critics predicted the Bulls to finish near the bottom of the Mid-American Conference, and while that is still a possibility, they have played better than expected early on.

Senior point guard Byron Mulkey has had a memorable season and it is only seven games old. He is leading the country in steals with 4.1 per game, and his leadership on and off the court has been praised by his teammates and head coach Reggie Witherspoon.

When the Bulls face the Cougars, Mulkey will take on his toughest challenge of the season – BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette.

Fredette hasn't been as consistent from 3-point range this season, but the senior is still putting up impressive numbers.

The Bulls will have to turn in a top-notch defensive effort if they hope to slow down Fredette and company. If Saturday night's game against St. Bonaventure is any indication of the Bulls' defensive ability to stop the 3-pointer, they could be in trouble.

Senior guard Jackson Emery has played well for the Cougars this season. He is averaging 12 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game.

One area where the Cougars could be vulnerable is on the glass. The leading rebounder for BYU is junior forward Charles Abouo, who comes off the bench. Junior forwards Mitchell Watt and Titus Robinson, along with freshman forward Javon McCrea, will have to box out and crash the boards.

If BYU is given second shot opportunities, it has proven to be able to make teams pay.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com

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