The two-week break for the FIBA World Cup qualifying window didn’t cool off Jimmer Fredette one bit as the former BYU guard hit the 50-point mark for the second game in a row and the fourth time in his last six chances as the Shanghai Sharks fell to the Fujian Sturgeons 144-139.
Fredette was on fire in the loss as he finished with 56 points on 19-for-32 shooting from the field, including a blistering 8-for-12 from 3-point range and 10-for-10 from the foul line. He added five assists, four rebounds and a steal in 43 minutes.
Despite the huge scoring day from Fredette, the Sharks had no answers on the defensive end of the floor as they gave up 82 second-half points in five-point loss.
Linjian Chen led the offensive outburst for the Sturgeons totaling 40 points on the strength of a 10-for-14 shooting night from beyond the arc. He had plenty of help as three other players scored at least 25 points in the come-from-behind win.
Russ Smith added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals while Mike Harris chipped in with 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the floor to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds and four assists.
Fredette got going early with 14 points in the first quarter as the Sharks opened up a double-digit lead before Fujian closed the gap.
After four points in the second quarter left him with 18 points at the break, Fredette went absolutely bonkers in the second half as he totaled 38 points to try to keep Shanghai in the game.
He started out the second half barrage with a pull-up three in transition. He then connected on a stepback jumper from just outside the free-throw line before he had a ridiculous 4-point play to put the Sharks back on top 73-71. He added a fastbreak lay-up and another three coming off a screen minutes later, but the Sturgeons’ hot shooting kept them in the lead. His only other points in the third came at the foul line in the last minute as he closed the gap to seven.
As good as he was in the third, Fredette was even better in the fourth as he totaled 22 points, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome a Fujian squad that connected on 22 of 44 attempts from the beyond the 3-point line.
Nick Minnerath also had strong showing for the Sharks who fell to 6-4 with the loss. He finished with 34 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the field, including 8-for-11 from distance. He added seven rebounds and three assists in just 29 minutes.
On the season, Fredette is now averaging a league-best 41.7 points on 47 percent shooting from inside the arc, 48 percent from 3-point land and 94 percent from the foul line. He is also contributing 7.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals in 42.4 minutes a night.
Up next for Fredette and the Sharks is a return home to face off with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions. The Lions are 7-3 following a 130-97 win over the Bayi Rockets. They are led by Courtney Fortson who is averaging 29.4 points, 11.9 assists and 7.7 rebounds.
Photo credit: By Bagumba (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons