Oklahoma freshman Trae Young looks to continue the scorching start to his collegiate career when the 17th-ranked Sooners host Northwestern on Friday. Young scored 26 points and matched a Division I record with 22 assists in the 105-68 victory against Northwestern State on Tuesday, and the freshman phenom hopes to stay hot by leading Oklahoma to its eighth straight win overall.
Young leads the nation in scoring (28.5) and assists (10.2) as Oklahoma aims to end non-conference play with another win in its first-ever meeting with Northwestern. The Wildcats are trying to claw their way back into the top 25 after rededicating themselves on the defensive end of the floor. Northwestern started the season ranked 20th before dropping three games in November but has been stifling teams in the month of December, as the Wildcats have limited three of their last four opponents to 50 points or fewer. The Wildcats, who suffered an 85-49 defeat to Big 12 foe Texas Tech on Nov. 19, hope to continue suffocating opposing offenses by posting their first win over a ranked opponent this season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (9-4): Bryant McIntosh broke out of a shooting slump by draining a career-high six 3-pointers en route to 24 points and dished out six assists in an 85-48 win against Lewis on Tuesday. Gavin Skelly provided a lift off the bench as he scored 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting while Dererk Pardon contributed 12 points against the Flyers. Scottie Lindsey tallied nine points and needs 10 more to become the 35th player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career while Vic Law, who is averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds this season, missed the game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for Friday.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (9-1): Young became the first player in over 20 years to finish with over 20 points and 20 assists in the same game with his sizzling performance against Northwestern State. “I give a lot of credit to my teammates as I wouldn’t be able to make an assist without my teammates knocking it down,” Young told reporters. “I feel like it’s a team thing so that’s big for me more than anything else.” Fellow freshman Brady Manek added a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting while Kameron McGusty contributed 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds as the Sooners shot 56.9 percent from the field and forced 23 turnovers.
1. Young has scored 26 or more points in eight consecutive contests.
2. Northwestern has made 11 or more three-pointers in four straight games.
3. Oklahoma has won eight home games in a row.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 77, Northwestern 72