Trae Young was still in high school when Buddy Hield propelled Oklahoma past Oregon and into the Final Four two years ago, but he has already done things four games into his college career that the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer never did. The freshman sensation hopes to continue turning heads Sunday when the Sooners face the Ducks in the fifth-place game of the PK80 Invitational Victory Bracket in Portland, Ore.
In his second-to-last career game with Oklahoma near the end of the 2015-16 season, Hield drained eight 3-pointers and scored 37 points in an Elite Eight victory over Oregon, becoming only the fourth Division I player since 1975 to average at least 25 points and lead his team to a Final Four. While not quite yet the prolific long-range shooter, Young has been every bit the scorer so far, averaging 24.5 points through four games - including 30.5 in two games at this event. The Ducks’ Payton Pritchard is also making a name for himself this weekend, averaging 21.5 points against Connecticut and DePaul. The sophomore guard was instrumental in Oregon’s 89-79 victory over the Blue Demons on Friday, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime to spark a game-ending 10-0 run en route to a career-high 29-point performance.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (3-1): Young erupted for 33 points against the Pilots, becoming the first freshman in the Lon Kruger era (2011-present) to score 30 points; his performance marked the highest-scoring game by a Sooner freshman since Tommy Mason-Griffin tallied 38 points on Jan. 27, 2010. Forward Khadeem Lattin (14.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 72.7 field-goal percentage), the lone senior on the team, posted his second double-double in as many outings Friday with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Christian James (12.8 points) is coming off his worst shooting effort of the season (4-for-12), but he is the only other Sooner besides Young to reach double figures in every game.
ABOUT OREGON (5-1): Pritchard, who is averaging a team-high 15.5 points after scoring 7.4 points per game as a freshman, accounted for 13 (hitting a career-high seven of the Ducks’ school-record 39 3-point attempts) Friday and also added eight assists to go along with six rebounds. New Mexico transfer Elijah Brown (12 points per game) bounced back from a foul-plagued performance versus UConn with a season-high 19 points and is averaging 17 points in Oregon’s last three wins. Freshman forward Troy Brown (11.5 points) continued to struggle with turnovers - he has at least three in four of the six games - but he drained all three of his 3-point attempts and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds.
1. Kruger and Oregon’s Dana Altman, who served as an assistant on Kruger’s Kansas State staff from 1986-89, have combined for 1,206 Division I coaching victories.
2. After finishing with only seven assists as a team in Thursday’s loss to UConn, the Ducks recorded one on each of their first eight field goals Friday and finished with 17.
3. The Sooners rank third in Division I in scoring offense (98 points per game), sixth in assists per game (20.8) and 13th in field-goal percentage (52.7).
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 92, Oregon 80