Sooners Back at Home Thursday
THURSDAY'S GAME BASICS
It’s been over two weeks since the Sooners played at home, and they’ve been picking up national attention while they’ve been away. Oklahoma (4-1) returns to its home court with a top-three offense, a 2-1 showing at one of most prestigious tournaments ever assembled and a historic showing from freshman guard Trae Young. The Sooners look to continue their hot start when they face North Texas (4-3) in its first year under head coach Grant McCasland. The Sooners and Mean Green tip off at 7 p.m. CT with tickets available starting at just $10.
ON THE AIR
Thursday’s matchup will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. The game will be broadcasted by Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports Oklahoma with Chad McKee, Bryndon Manzer and Jessica Coody calling the action. Fans can use the Sooner Sports TV channel finder here.
Tickets start at just $10 and are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. The Lloyd Noble Center box office opens at 5:30 p.m.
IN THE BONUS
OU students will be given a free BoomSquad beanie upon admission through the north student entrance. Students are also able to enter a free Apple TV 4K - given to one lucky OU student in attendance.
The Sooner Jr. Kids Zone on the south side of the concourse will feature a poster making station, face painter, balloon artist and free school folders.
Fans are encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into the gates with new enhanced screenings. For more gameday tips at Lloyd Noble Center, visit the LNC's information page.
• For the seventh straight year under head coach Lon Kruger, the Sooners have started the season with at least four wins in their first five games. Oklahoma returns to Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday after winning back-to-back games at PK80 in Portland, Ore. - including a 10-point win over Oregon, a 2017 Final Four team. Dating back to last season, Oklahoma has won five straight games at the LNC. Oklahoma is 75-20 at home under Kruger and boasts a 36-5 record in home non-conference contests.
• Freshman guard Trae Young combined for 104 points in the three games at PK80 - the most of any player in the 16-team event. Young enters Thursday’s game coming off a 43-point performance against Oregon, which represents the most scored in a game by any player in Division I hoops this season. The freshman is second in the country in scoring (28.2) and third in assists per game (8.6). Young’s scoring average is 10 points more than the second-highest Big 12 player (Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas with 18.2).
• Oklahoma continues to boast one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. The Sooners rank third nationally in points per game (96.4) and are fourth in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo. Oklahoma has scored at least 90 points in all four of its wins this season.
Freshman Trae Young is just second in the country in scoring with 28.2 points per game.
OKLAHOMA'S LAST TIME OUT
• Oklahoma picked up its second win at PK80 with a 90-80 win over Oregon on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore. PK80 is an early-season tournament honoring the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The Sooners were one of 16 prestigious Nike schools competing in a field that combined for 23 national titles, 89 Final Four appearances and 391 NCAA Tournament invitations. Oklahoma went 2-1 during the event, taking fifth place in the eight-team “Victory” bracket.
• The Sooners were led by a historic performance from freshman guard Trae Young, who scored 43 points in the win. Young shot 11-of-22 from the field, 4-of-11 from 3-point range and 17-of-18 from the foul line while adding seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
• Young’s 43 points are the most scored in NCAA Division I this season and are the most by a Sooner since Buddy Hield scored 46 in triple overtime against Kansas on Jan. 4, 2016.
• Oklahoma trailed by as many as eight points in the first half – its largest deficit in a win this season. While OU led for a majority of the night, Oregon took its final lead (62-61) with just under 10 minutes remaining. Young scored 23 of Oklahoma’s final 26 points – all in the final nine minutes – to pull away from the Ducks.
• In addition to Young’s big day, the Sooners also saw big games from Christian James and Jamuni McNeace. James continued to score in double figures (has so in all five games this season) with 11 points and seven rebounds. McNeace added 10 points and six rebounds while shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
SERIES HISTORY VS. NORTH TEXAS
• OU is 4-1 all-time against the Mean Green and has won the last four meetings. UNT’s lone win in the series came in 1966. The Sooners and Mean Green most recently met in 2013, when Oklahoma opened its home slate with a 95-82 victory.
• Oklahoma is 36-6 all-time against current members of Conference USA and is 2-1 against CUSA teams during the Lon Kruger era.
• Oklahoma’s offensive efforts have been led by the scoring and passing of freshman guard Trae Young. In five games, the Norman native has put together two double-doubles, four 20-plus-point games, two 30-plus-point games and a 43-point performance (Nov. 26 vs. Oregon). Young is averaging 28.2 points, 8.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 31.2 minutes. He leads the Big 12 in scoring average by 10 points (Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas is second with 18.2) and is second in the country, solely behind Femi Olujobi (28.3 ppg) of North Carolina AT&T. Only five other Big 12 players have scored 28 points in a game this season, the amount that Young is averaging. Young’s 8.6 assists rank first in the Big 12 and third across the country.
• The highlight of Young’s collegiate career thus far is scoring 43 points in a 90-80 win over Oregon on Nov. 26. Young shot 11-of-22 from the field, 4-of-11 from 3-point range and 17-of-18 from the foul line while adding seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. He became the 15th Sooner to score 40 points in a game, but just the second to do so as a freshman. Wayman Tisdale is the only Sooner freshman to score more in a game with outings of 51, 46 and 44 points in the 1982-83 season.
• Young’s 43 points are the most scored by any player in Division I men’s basketball this season. The 43-point mark is the second-highest by an OU player in the past 23 years - trailing only Buddy Hield’s 46 points in triple overtime against Kansas on Jan. 3, 2016.
• Oklahoma’s freshman scoring record is owned by Tisdale, who averaged 24.5 points per game in his rookie season. Tisdale’s freshman year was so memorable (he also averaged 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks), that the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named its national freshman of the year award after him in 2010. For reference, Tisdale averaged 26.0 points through his first five games as a freshman.
• In three games at PK80, Young averaged 34.7 points, 6.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals. His scoring average was the highest of any player among the 16 elite Nike schools at the event, including the likes of Duke, Michigan State and North Carolina. He shot 30-of-58 (.517) from the field, 11-of-28 (.393) from 3-point range and 33-of-35 (.943) from the foul line. He scored 28 points in the opening round against Arkansas and 33 versus Portland in the second round.
• With two double-doubles in his first two collegiate games, Young is the first Oklahoma player to record consecutive points-assists double-doubles since John Ontjes in the 1994-95 season. The freshman is also the first Sooner to have multiple points-assists double-doubles in one season since Terrell Everett in 2005-06. He was one of only three freshmen in Division I to produce two double-doubles in his first two games of the 2017-18 season (Deandre Ayton of Arizona and Brandon McCoy of UNLV).
• Young’s 13 dimes against Ball State tied an OU freshman record for assists in a game (Tim McAlister in 1984) and were the most by a Sooner since Terrell Everett served up 15 in 2006.
• In his 43-point game against Oregon on Nov. 26, Young was one foul shot shy of tying the program record, going 17-of-18 (.944) from the charity stripe.
• Young has been honored with conference honors in each of the first three weeks of the season, being named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Nov. 13 and 27 and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 20. Young is just the second freshman to earn Player of the Week honors in the opening week (Michael Beasley of Kansas State in 2007) and the first freshman in Big 12 history to earn the honor twice in the first three weeks of the season.
• Oklahoma’s offense has begun the season as one of the best in the country. The Sooners are third in the nation with 96.4 points per game and have scored 90 points in four of their five games - including a pair of games in triple digits. Oklahoma, who dished out over 15 assists on only four occasions last season, is 13th in the country with 19.2 assists per contest.
• OU put up historic numbers in its first two games of the season, scoring 108 points in wins over Omaha (Nov. 12) and Ball State (Nov. 15). Its just the third time in program history that OU began a season with back-to-back games of at least 100 points. The Sooners’ 216 combined points are their third-most through the first two games of the season and the most since a Billy Tubbs-led squad opened the season with 319 total points (not a typo) in the first two games of the 1989-90 campaign.
• OU’s back-to-back games of triple-digit scoring was its first since December 2001. It is just the third time since 1993 that the Sooners have put together consecutive 100-point showings.
• The Sooners are 3-0 when shooting above 50 percent. Oklahoma is also 3-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
• The Sooners face their second straight Conference USA squad in UTSA on Monday, Dec. 4. The 7 p.m. contest will air on Fox Sports Oklahoma. OU is 2-0 all-time against the Roadrunners, with wins in 1995 and 1983.
• UTSA is coached by former Oklahoma assistant Steven Henson. Now in his second year with UTSA, Henson was on Oklahoma’s staff for five seasons, including OU’s run to the 2016 Final Four. Henson played for Lon Kruger at Kansas State from 1986-1990 before beginning a nine-year professional career. Henson also served on Kruger’s staffs with Illinois (1999-2000), Atlanta Hawks (2001-03) and UNLV (2004-11). Henson is one of eight current Division I head coaches who previously worked for Kruger. The Sooners recently faced fellow Kruger disciple Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks on Nov. 26.
•Tickets start at just $10 and are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. The Lloyd Noble Center box office opens at 5:30 p.m.