Sooners Host UTSA on Monday Night
MONDAY'S GAME BASICS
After opening the season with a 5-1 month of November, Oklahoma (5-1) begins a tough December slate by facing former assistant Steve Henson and his UTSA (5-4) club. Dating back to last season, Oklahoma has won six straight games at the LNC. OU is 76-20 at home under head coach Lon Kruger and boasts a 37-5 record in home non-conference contests. The Sooners and Roadrunners tip off at 7 p.m. CT with tickets available starting at just $10.
ON THE AIR
Monday’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
It's Star Wars Night at the LNC! OU Athletics will be giving out free OU basketball lightsabers at entrances and the Sooner Jr. Kids Zone. OU students are also able to enter to win a BB-8 remote control droid - 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.
• UTSA is coached by former OU assistant Steve Henson. Now in his second year with UTSA, Henson was on OU’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.
• Freshman guard Trae Young ended the month of November averaging 28.8 points, 8.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals. Young is the first freshman to lead all Division I players in scoring in the month of November since Eric Gordon of Indiana in 2007. He is also the first freshman to average over 28.0 points in the opening month of the season since 2002 and the first player of any grade to finish November averaging over 28 points and 8 assists since 1997. Young joins Gordon and Michael Beasley (Kansas State) as the only freshmen in the last 20 years with three 30-point games in November. Young is the only one to do it in three straight games.
• Oklahoma continues to boast one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. The Sooners rank third nationally in points per game (94.0) and are eighth in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo. Oklahoma has scored at least 82 points in all five of its wins this season.
UTSA head coach Steve Henson (left) was an assistant coach for five seasons at Oklahoma and helped instruct the Sooners to the 2016 Final Four.
OKLAHOMA'S LAST TIME OUT
• Oklahoma improved to 5-1 on the season with an 82-72 victory over North Texas (4-4) on Thursday at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners were led by freshman guard Trae Young with 32 points and 10 assists. Young is just the second player in the history of the Big 12 Conference (founded in 1996) with 30 points and 10 assists in a game, joining Curtis Jerrells of Baylor in 2009 (per ESPN Stats and Info). The freshman shot 10-of-18 from the field and 6-of-11 from 3-point range while adding three steals in 36 minutes.
• Most of Young’s scoring production came after halftime, putting together 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-of-5 from 3-point range) in the second half. Young is averaging 15.7 points in the second half this season, which in itself would put him in the Big 12’s top 10 scorers.
• Young’s 32-point performance is his third straight game of reaching 30 points. He totaled 33 against Portland (Nov. 24) and a career-high 43 versus Oregon (Nov. 26). Young is the first Sooner to record three consecutive games of 30 points since Jeff Webster in 1994. Like Young, Webster was also a McDonald’s All-American from the state of Oklahoma.
• Senior forward Khadeem Lattin was one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 12 points with nine rebounds. Lattin has reached double figures in four games this season and boasts season averages of 12.3 points and 8.8 boards.
• The Sooners eclipsed 20 assists for the fourth time this season, handing out exactly 20 dimes.
• Oklahoma and North Texas were tied at halftime. It was the first OU win of the season in which the Sooners did not have a lead at the half.
SERIES HISTORY VS. UTSA
• OU is 2-0 all-time against the Roadrunners, with wins in 1995 and 1983. The Sooners and Roadrunners most recently met in 1995, when Oklahoma posted a 107-75 win.
• Oklahoma is 37-6 all-time against current members of Conference USA and is 3-1 against C-USA teams during the Lon Kruger era. Monday is their second straight game against a C-USA team, defeating North Texas on Thursday, 82-72.
• Oklahoma’s offensive efforts have been led by the scoring and passing of freshman guard Trae Young. In six games, the Norman native has put together three double-doubles, five 20-plus-point games, three 30-plus-point games and a 43-point performance (Nov. 26 vs. Oregon). Young is averaging 28.8 points, 8.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals. He leads the nation in scoring and leads the Big 12 in scoring average by almost 10 points (Jevon Carter of West Virginia is second with 19.0). Young’s 8.8 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 24.0 points through his first six 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.
• His 32 points and 10 assists against North Texas on Nov. 30 mark just the second time a Big 12 player has recorded 30 points and 10 dimes in the same game.
• 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 is off to a 5-1 start behind the third-highest-scoring offense in the nation. The Sooners average 94.0 points per game and have scored at least 90 points in four of their six games - including a pair of games in triple digits. Oklahoma, who ranked 331 (of 351 teams) in assists per game last season, is ninth in the country with 19.3 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 4-0 when shooting above 50 percent. Oklahoma is also 4-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
UP NEXT: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
• Up next, the Sooners head to Los Angeles to face Southern California as part of a triple header in one of basketball's most famous venues - STAPLES Center. The Sooners and Trojans square off on Friday, Dec. 8 as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. The contest will tip at 9:30 p.m. CT and air on ESPN2.
• OU is 6-5 all-time against the Trojans, but USC is 3-2 in games played in Los Angeles. The Sooners and Trojans most recently met in a home-and-home series in 2007 and 2008 as part of the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series.
• Oklahoma’s contest with Southern California is the first game in a stretch of talented opponents and challenging matchups this month. The Sooners face No. 14/18 USC on Dec. 8 in Los Angeles before taking on No. 8/8 Wichita State on Saturday, Dec. 16 in Wichita. Oklahoma also faces Northwestern State on Dec. 19 and Northwestern (coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance) on Dec. 22 at home and heads to No. 23/RV TCU on Dec. 30.
• Beginning with the USC matchup, 20 of Oklahoma’s final 23 games will be against teams who are either ranked in the current AP Top 25 or are coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Tickets for the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic can be purchased at STAPLESCenter.com.