Sooners Soar Past Ball State, 108-69
NORMAN (AP) – After another triple-digit offensive performance, it was Oklahoma's defense that made coach Lon Kruger the happiest on Wednesday night.
Freshman guard Trae Young had 22 points and 13 assists for his second double-double in as many games and Oklahoma rolled past Ball State 108-69. More importantly for Kruger, the Sooners limited the Cardinals to 20 fewer points than Oklahoma's opening-day foe, Omaha.
"I thought we set a nice tone defensively early," Kruger said. "Rashard (Odomes) picking up the ball really established a lot of good stuff and the other guys fell in line down on the defensive end, keeping them uncomfortable for the most part. Then we really pushed the ball offensively. A lot of guys made a lot of good plays."
Young, named the Big 12 Conference's player of the week after a 15-point, 10-assist outing in the win over Omaha on Sunday, went 5 of 10 from 3-point range against Ball State while playing only 26 minutes.
Four Sooners scored in double figures, including Khadeem Lattin (20 points), Brady Manek (16) and Christian James (13). Oklahoma scored in triple digits for only the sixth time in Kruger's seven seasons with the Sooners — but for the second time in as many games.
"We'll take that every night," Kruger said. "That happens when you get the ball out of the backcourt quickly and attack the defense, get the court set and make that extra pass. The guys did a good job of that tonight."
Jontrell Walker led Ball State (0-2) with 23 points while Kyle Mallers had 17. Unlike in a one-point loss at Dayton in the season opener — when the Cardinals lost in the final second — Ball State never was in the game against Oklahoma (2-0).
The Sooners shot 56.8 percent from the field and never trailed, jumping to a 16-3 lead in the first four minutes of the game as James, Young, Manek and Young again hit 3-pointers during that span. The Sooners led 60-31 at halftime after Young's fourth 3-pointer and were up by as many as 41 points in the second half.
"I thought Oklahoma had a great game plan," Ball State coach James Whitford said. "They pressed us on every field goal that they scored and didn't let us get the ball inbounds and up quickly and that's the first time I've seen them do that. I thought that made it very hard on us and I thought it led to a lot of bad decisions for us on offense, which made their offense easy for them."
The game served as the on-campus portion of the Nike-sponsored PK80 tournament for Oklahoma.
Up next, the Sooners head to Portland, Ore., for PK80, a special 16-team event to honor the 80th birthday of Nike founder Phil Knight. Oklahoma opens its time in PK80’s eight-team “Victory Bracket” with a Thanksgiving afternoon matchup against Arkansas. The Sooners and Razorbacks will tip at 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 23 on ESPN2.