Oklahoma freshman sensation Trae Young has quickly vaulted to the short list of the country’s top players and the point guard will try to keep opening eyes when the No. 17 Sooners host Northwestern State on Tuesday. The Norman, Okla., native leads the country at 28.8 points per game and his 8.9 assists were third nationally entering Monday.
Young had 29 points and 10 assists - the fourth straight game he’s recorded between 29 and 32 points, and eight and 10 assists - in Saturday’s 91-83 victory at No. 11 Wichita State, leaving the opposing coach in awe. “I haven’t coached against a freshman that plays the game at that level,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall told reporters. “Hedging, switching; we tried everything against him. Trae Young is not going to get rattled. He is too good.” Another Oklahoma freshman who is beginning to find his way is forward Brady Manek, a Harrah, Okla., native who averages 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds after scoring season bests of 15 and 21 in his last two games. The Demons are coming off a stunning 85-84 loss to NAIA member LSU Shreveport on Saturday and already have a Big 12 setback on their resume, succumbing 105-59 at Texas in their season opener.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN STATE (3-6): Senior guard Jalan West averages team bests of 13.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.0 steals after recording 24 points, five assists and four steals Saturday. Junior forward Ishmael Lane (11.0 points, team-most 6.8 rebounds) has recorded double-doubles in his last two games and blocked a career-high five shots against Shreveport. The Demons were 343rd among the 351 Division I teams in 3-point field goal percentage entering Monday despite West being 18-for-40 from beyond the arc.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (8-1): Junior guard Christian James (12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds) has been a consistent sort while averaging 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds over his last three games. Senior Khadeem Lattin (9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds) has recorded nine points and 23 rebounds in his last three games, and didn’t record a block against Wichita State to snap a 14-game streak with at least one. Coach Lon Kruger’s nine-man rotation that averages a minimum of 14.8 minutes includes 6-foot-10 junior center Jamuni McNeace (5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds in 14.9 minutes), who is 22-for-34 from the field and boasts a team-high 18 blocks.
1. Young has been involved in 158 of the Sooners’ 298 field goals by making 78 and assisting on 80.
2. Northwestern State shot 40.8 percent from the field Saturday and is shooting 40.8 percent this season.
3. Oklahoma and its opponents have each gotten 213 points from their reserves.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 80, Northwestern State 58