UNLV, BYU Prepare for Historic Showdown

LAS VEGAS - When the UNLV Runnin' Rebels and the BYU Cougars tip off this week, it will be the first time in school history that a ranked UNLV team will open league play against another ranked team at home. Twenty-fifth-ranked UNLV is hosting 15th-ranked BYU.

"They're coming into our building, so we've got to try to protect it," said UNLV Guard Tre'Von Willis.

"We've got to defend the home court," added UNLV Guard Anthony Marshall.

League games in the Mountain West Conference don't get any bigger. The Rebels will focus on stopping All-American candidate Jimmer Fredette. Willis welcomes the challenge.

"Everybody's got him picked as the best player in the conference, preseason All-American. So, it's only right. He's got to come in here and prove it," he said.

Fredette's proved his worth so far this season, winning another Player of the Week honor. Stopping the Cougars starts with slowing down the talented guard.

"Every team for the most part has its trigger guy. Fredette's a big trigger guy. He makes so much happen. He can score in so many different ways. He makes his teammates better. He's got good teammates, good players around him," said UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger.

"He's an all around player. He can do everything, especially offensively. He's a great player," said UNLV Guard Oscar Bellfield.

Despite Fredette's accolades, BYU has never beaten UNLV in Las Vegas with him on the roster.

Marshall grew up enjoying the rivalry. He knows what it's all about. "The history of the battle, just thinking about it, the previous games, how it comes to the wire. You just want to be part of that. The thought of that gets me fired up," he said.

The UNLV fans always get fired up for the Cougars too.


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