SALT LAKE CITY - The last words Arizona coach Sean Miller spoke to Jimmer Fredette were humorously despondent, a joke in the face of embarrassment and anguish.
"Just pass!" Miller said. "No more shooting!"
Miller shouted the words during the final minutes of BYU's 99-69 rout of the Wildcats at McKale Center last season, when Fredette shattered BYU and McKale Center records with 49 points.
"Coach Miller was kind of joking around with me, but that's the kind of guy coach Miller is," Fredette said Friday. "He's a good guy and he really wants to win."
Fortunately for Miller, time has dulled his memory of that moment.
"I don't know what I said," Miller said. "I admired his performance but it was painful to take. But you've got to give credit where credit is due. He deserved it."
What Miller does remember is that the Wildcats didn't play tough defense in that game, failed to negotiate screens and let the Cougars pass the ball until one of them - usually Fredette - found a wide-open look and nailed it.
This time, Miller has a deeper, tougher and more experienced team that has allowed opponents to shoot 41.5 percent from the field and only 29.7 percent from three-point range - where Fredette, they may recall, hit 9 of 13 bombs last season.
Miller is expected to constantly rotate fresh defenders at Fredette, and hope that the Wildcats don't ignore everybody else.
"The thing about playing him is the other four guys," Miller said. "He used a lot of ball screens, and screens away from the ball, and other guys got him open. Once again, I hope we're more connected as a team."
By now, though, facing more defensive attention is hardly anything new for Fredette. The UA game was just one of many that made Jimmer - a name his mother gave him because there were so many men also named James on her side of the family - into a household name in college basketball circles.
He scored 30 or more points eight times last season, including 37 against Florida in the NCAA tournament, and 45 against TCU in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Teams have continued to focus this season on Fredette, a candidate for first-team All-America and player of the year.
"Usually, teams try different guys on me, try to keep fresh guys coming off the bench," Fredette said. "I know Arizona is going to do that, too. They have 10 guys. They're deep and athletic."
Fredette added that BYU is "not expecting to have a game like that again," and Cougars coach Dave Rose isn't thinking he'll drop 49 points, either.
"The game he had last year was a very unique, once in a lifetime," Rose said. "So there's not any expectations on our part that he's going to continue that."
At this point in Fredette's career, as a senior who tested the NBA draft process last spring, he knows to take what defenses will give him.
"He's a lot more patient," Rose said. "He really picks his spots well. He looks for opportunities to create for himself but he doesn't force things."
There's also a mental edge Fredette gained last summer, attending NBA workouts and playing for USA Basketball's Select team against the National team.
"A lot of it has to do with my confidence level, to know you can play with the best of them," Fredette said. "I worked on ball screens, lateral quickness and did a lot to get in better shape. I felt I worked pretty hard in the off-season and played against some of the best players in the world, so that really helped me."
Today, he'll be facing a bunch of guys who recall not only those 49 points but also their own shaky effort against Cal State-Fullerton three days earlier.
The Wildcats also may have a sense that things, possibly, can be different this time.
"Part of the lesson we needed to learn against Fullerton is when you're not ready, anybody can beat us," Miller said. "As we move toward BYU, they have a different team and we have a different team. We're in a better place. And not making too much of last year is one of the keys."
• What: Arizona vs. BYU in Salt Lake City
• When: 4 p.m.
• TV: BYU TV (Cox 114, Comcast 289, DirecTV 374, Dish 9397)
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM