Jimmer Fredette returned to Shanghai in time to carry the Sharks to a massive 107-99 overtime win over the Shenzhen Leopards to square the best-of-5 series at one game apiece.

After a tough shooting night, Fredette got the magic going in the closing seconds of regulation as he split two defenders and got to the rim with 2.2 seconds left in regulation for the difficult lay-up to give the Sharks a 92-90 lead. Jeremy Pargo answered for the Leopards at the buzzer with the would be game winner with the off-balance shot from the 3-point line. Pargo sprinted down the floor and up the tunnel in celebration, but upon a lengthy review (we’re talking like 10 minutes where the refs looked at the monitor at the scorers table, the playback on one of the video cameras filming the game and even a cell phone or two), it was clear that his foot was on the line, making it a game tying shot.

Following the long delay, Pargo got the Leopards on the board first in the extra session with a step-back baseline jumper, but Zhang ZhaoXu answered with the 3-point play to give the Sharks the lead. After a defense stop, Fredette took over as he scored eight straight points to bring home the win. He started it out with a left-wing three off the dribble to push the Sharks’ lead to 98-94. He added another three from the right side just seconds later to give Shanghai a 7-point cushion. After another defensive stop, he hit a running floater from just inside the foul line to extend the lead to 103-94 before the Sharks closed out the game at the foul line.

All told, Fredette finished the night with a game-high 39 points on 14 for 39 shooting from the floor, including 4 for 17 from beyond the arc and 7 for 8 from the foul line. He also contributed 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal in 44:04.

Guerschon Yabusele added 27 points on 10 for 17 shooting from the field, including 3 for 6 from distance with 10 rebounds and three assists. Liu XiaoYu also came up big in the win with 21 points – including four clutch free throws down the stretch – while adding nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Gu QuAn paced the Leopards in the tough loss with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Li Muhao managed 22 points on 9 for 13 shooting from the floor while grabbing 12 rebounds.

Pargo chipped in with 22 points on 9 for 22 shooting with seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals while Maciej Lampe recorded a double-double as he finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

The Sharks and the Leopards are back in Shanghai on Wednesday night for game 3.

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The BYU Cougars got a career night from Elijah Bryant on their way to a 97-78 win over the Portland Pilots on the road Thursday night. Bryant finished with 39 points while connecting on 7 of 12 shots from beyond the arc and all 12 of his free throws.

He had plenty of help as three other Cougars scored in double figures, including Eric Mika who totaled 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Nick Emery added 16 points on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc while Steven Beo totaled 12 points and three rebounds off the bench.

Gabe Taylor led the way for the Pilots — who fell to 10-20 on the season — with 18 points on 10 for 11 shooting from the free-throw line while Xavier Hallinan chipped in 17 points.


Why the Cougars won

The Cougars got off to a hot shooting start and never looked back. They scored 33 points and held a 16-point lead before the clock hit the midway point of the first half and shot well enough the rest of the way to come away with the convincing win.


The turning point

After giving up the first basket of the night, the Cougars scored 14 of the next 15 points to open up an 11-point lead. Bryant was key in the early run with three 3-point shots.

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The absence of Jimmer Fredette – who is in Colorado for the birth of his first child – was too difficult to overcome as the Shanghai Sharks dropped the opening game of the best-of-5 first round playoff series to the Shenzhen Leopards 115-75 on Friday.

After a solid first-quarter start saw them take a seven-point lead, the Leopards blew the game wide open in the middle two quarters as they outscored the Sharks 61-23 to take a commanding 45-point lead at the end of three.

Jeremy Pargo led the way for Shenzhen in the lopsided home win with 29 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor to go along with nine assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals. Maciej Lampe added 28 points on 11 for 21 shooting from the field with 10 rebounds and five steals.

Li Muhao registered 18 points and seven rebounds while He ZhongMian chipped in with 12 points on 5 for 7 shooting from the floor, including 2 for 3 from distance.

Guerschon Yabusele paced the Sharks in the loss with 31 points on 11 for 25 shooting from the floor and 7 for 10 from the free-throw line, but was just 2 for 10 from beyond the arc. He added 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals while playing all 48 minutes.

Yabusele wasn’t the only one to struggle from 3-point range as Shanghai connected on just 5 of 35 shots from distance. But it was a tough shooting night all-around for the Sharks as they shot just 31 percent from the floor (27 for 87).

Zhang ZhaoXu added 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field and 5 for 6 from the foul line with seven rebounds while Liu XiaoYu – who is in the middle of a shooting slump – suffered through another difficult night as he finished with just 10 points on 4 for 20 shooting, including 1 for 8 from beyond the arc.

The Sharks will get the chance to bounce back at home as they head to Shanghai for games two and three with the hopes of using their wonderful home court advantage – 18-1 in 19 games – to get back in the series.