The point guards will take center stage as sophomore Landry Shamet and No. 3 Wichita State host freshman sensation Trae Young and No. 24 Oklahoma on Saturday. Young leads the country in scoring at 28.8 points per game and was third nationally through Wednesday’s game with 8.8 assists, while Shamet averages team highs of 16.3 points and 4.3 assists, and shoots 55.3 percent from the field - 53.5 from 3-point range.
“He is a dynamic talent ...,’’ Shockers coach Gregg Marshall told reporters about Young. “Takes a lot of shots, but he scores tons of points. ... He is responsible for at least half of their offense.” Wichita State will try to defeat a Big 12 team for the third consecutive Saturday after winning at No. 21 Baylor 69-62 on Dec. 2 and at Oklahoma State 78-66 on Dec. 9. The Sooners are coming off an 85-83 victory over then-No. 25 USC at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 8 and boast a strong transition game. “If we score, they have to take the ball out of the basket. That is one way - to score so they don’t get it,’’ Marshall said about eliminating Oklahoma’s fast-break style. “... You have to take good shots, and you can’t turn it over. Those are the three things you have to do. They are going to get some transition, they are an elite transition team. Hopefully we can get some as well.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (7-1): Junior guard Christian James scored a career-high 19 points against USC - his seventh double-figure game in eight outings this season - and averages 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the field. Senior forward Khadeem Lattin averages 10.4 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds as the only other double-figure scorer. Young also boasts a team-best 2.3 steals per game, and shoots 47.9 percent from the field and 86.3 from the free-throw line, but 37.7 from 3-point range.
ABOUT WICHITA STATE (8-1): Senior center Shaquille Morris averages 13.3 points - second-best on the team - after scoring only three versus Oklahoma State while battling foul trouble before eventually fouling out. Senior forward Rashard Kelly averages 8.3 boards, helping Wichita State outrebound its last 14 opponents and rise to fifth nationally at 44.1 per game. Senior guard Conner Frankamp (11.8 points) and senior forward Darral Willis Jr. (11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds) are the other double-figure scorers.
1. Shamet is the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week after totaling 51 points and 13 assists in victories over Oklahoma State and 95-85 over South Dakota State on Dec. 5.
2. Young’s 70 assists already rank eighth all-time among Oklahoma freshmen.
3. The Sooners were third nationally in scoring at 93.3 points per game while the Shockers were 24th (86.9).
PREDICTION: Wichita State 93, Oklahoma 87