Sooners Host Northwestern on Friday
FRIDAY'S GAME BASICS
Big 12. Big Ten. Big game. No. 17/17 Oklahoma (9-1) closes out non-conference play on Friday night when it hosts Northwestern (9-4, 1-1 Big Ten), a veteran squad coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance last season. The Sooners enter the game riding a seven-game winning streak - their longest since starting the 2015-16 season 12-0. Dating back to last season, the Sooners have won eight straight home games. The Sooners are 39-4 in Norman against non-conference opponents under Kruger. A win on Friday would put the Sooners at 10-1 entering Big 12 play, already one victory shy of matching their 2016-17 win total (OU went 11-20). Friday’s matchup will tip at 6 p.m. CT inside Lloyd Noble Center
ON THE AIR
Tuesday'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 nationally on ESPN2 and WatchESPN with Mark Neely and Dan Dakich calling the action.
Tickets start at just $15 and are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. The Lloyd Noble Center box office opens at 4:30 p.m. on Friday for walk-up sales.
IN THE BONUS
The Sooner Jr. Kids Zone on the south side of the concourse will have a special visitor on Friday as Santa Claus will be taking pictures and handing out stockings from 5-7 p.m. The Kids Zone will also 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.
• The Sooners bring the nation’s highest-scoring offense and a seven-game winning streak into the Lloyd Noble Center when they host Northwestern on Friday. Oklahoma averages 94.2 points per game and has scored at least 90 points in seven of its 10 games - including three games in triple digits. The Sooners continue their first week back in the AP Top 25 since making their run to the 2016 Final Four. Oklahoma vaulted from unranked to No. 17 in both the AP and Coaches polls after a shocker of a win at No. 3 Wichita State last Saturday. Despite never cracking the AP Top 25 during the 2016-17 season, the Sooners have still been ranked in 47 of the last 77 polls (61 percent).
• Freshman guard Trae Young leads the country in both scoring (28.5) and assists (10.2). The reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, Young enters Tuesday’s contest with nine games of at least 20 points - the longest such streak by a Sooner since Buddy Hield strung together nine games between Dec. 12, 2015 and Jan. 15, 2016. Should Young score 20 against the Wildcats, he will be the first Sooner with 10 straight 20-point games since Stacey King (11) in 1988-89,
• Earlier this week, Young tied the NCAA single-game record for assists by dishing out 22 dimes against Northwestern State on Tuesday. The Norman native is the fourth player in recorded college basketball history to register 22 assists and the first since Sherman Douglas of Syracuse in 1989.
The Sooners enter Friday riding a seven-game winning streak.
OKLAHOMA'S LAST TIME OUT
• It was a historic evening at Lloyd Noble Center as No. 17/17 Oklahoma (9-1) defeated Northwestern State (3-7), 105-68. The Sooners were led by freshman guard Trae Young, who produced 26 points, 22 assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes while shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
• Young’s 22 assists tied an NCAA record for most assists in a game (assists became official in 1983-84) while breaking both Oklahoma and Big 12 records (both were 18 assists). Young is the fourth player in recorded college basketball history to register 22 assists and the first since Sherman Douglas of Syracuse in 1989. Since the NCAA began recording assists in 1983, Young is the only freshman to dish out 20 or more assists in a game. Oklahoma’s single-game assist record was previously held by Michael Johnson (1997) and Jan Pannell (1983). Johnson was tied with Oklahoma State’s Doug Gotlieb (1998) for the previous Big 12 record.
• Young is the first NCAA player to record over 20 points and 20 assists in at least 20 years. Young’s performance is also the first 20-point, 20-assist game in Big 12 history and the first 20-20 game of any kind in the conference since Rico Gathers of Baylor had 31 points and 21 rebounds in 2015 (also against Northwestern State).
• Freshman Brady Manek earned a career-high 22 points against Northwestern State, finishing 9-11 (.818) from the field and 4-6 (.667) from behind the arc. His performance marked his second straight game with over 20 points.
• Tuesday’s game was the second straight that two OU freshmen scored 20 or more points in one game, as Young and Manek recorded 29 and 21, respectively, on Saturday vs. Wichita State. The other such game occurred last season at Texas when Kristian Doolittle and Kameron McGusty each eclipsed 20 points.
• Oklahoma’s victory marked the 610th career win for head coach Lon Kruger, who surpasses Sooner coaching great Billy Tubbs (609) on the all-time Division I coaching wins list. Kruger’s 610 wins are the ninth-most among active head coaches and 32nd all-time.
• The Sooners shot a season-high .594 (41-69) from the field overall, marking OU’s best field-goal percentage since it shot .620 (31-50) at Baylor on Jan. 23, 2016. Additionally, 27 total assists marked the most by an OU team since the Sooners dished out 29 at Baylor in 2016.
• Defensively, the Sooners recorded double-digit steals for the first time this season with 12 against the Demons. Twelve steals marked the most by Oklahoma since it tallied 16 against Oral Roberts on Dec. 7, 2016. OU forced 23 Northwestern State turnovers – the most committed by the Demons this season and the most by an OU opponent this year. The 23 turnovers were the most by an OU opponent since Auburn committed 23 on Dec. 21, 2016.
SERIES HISTORY VS. NORTHWESTERN
• Tonight is the first ever meeting between Oklahoma and Northwestern. The Sooners are 137-127 all-time against current members of the Big Ten and 1-4 against Big Ten schools under head coach Lon Kruger. After the contest with Northwestern, the Sooners will have played 13 of the 14 members of the conference (OU has never faced Rutgers).
• Northwestern is coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and were regarded as a preseason top-25 team by both the AP and Coaches polls. The Wildcats are coached by Chris Collins, who is in his fifth year at the helm. Collins, son of former NBA All-Star and head coach Doug Collins, played his college ball at Duke from 1992-96. Collins and the Blue Devils edged a Lon Kruger-coached Floida team in the national semifinals of the 1994 Final Four.
• Oklahoma has seen strong production from a pair of freshmen already known around the Norman area. Guard Trae Young (Norman) and forward Brady Manek (Harrah) are both local products with numerous high school accolades now in their first season as Sooners. The pair is combining to average 39.8 points per game and enter Friday’s game totaling 98 combined points in the past two games.
• Fueling Oklahoma to a road win over No. 3 Wichita State on Dec. 16 by combining for 50 points, the freshman duo swept the Big 12’s weekly awards for the week of December 11-17. Young earned Big 12 Player of the Week for the third time this season while Manek was honored as Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. The Sooners last swept the conference’s weekly awards on Feb. 16, 2009, with Blake Griffin (Player of the Week) and Willie Warren (Newcomer).
• Attending high school less than three miles from the University of Oklahoma campus, Young is the first starter at OU to list Norman as his hometown since Steve Ayers in the 1967-68 season.
• Young has been named to numerous preseason honors lists - including the Preseason Top 50 for the John R. Wooden Award and the 20-person watch list for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. Young is also a Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention selection.
• Named a five-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout, Young was named the second-best point guard in his national recruiting class by ESPN and third-best by 247Sports and Scout. Playing high school ball at Norman North HS, Young averaged 42.6 points, 4.1 assists and 5.8 rebounds during his senior year while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. He earned McDonald’s All-America honors, becoming the fourth McDonald’s All-American from Oklahoma to play for OU, joining Sooner legends Blake Griffin, Wayman Tisdale and Jeff Webster.
• Manek has also found success in his first few collegiate contests, putting together averages of 11.3 points, 5.0
rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting .511 from the field and .382 from 3-point range.
• A four-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN and Scout and a three-star recruit by Rivals, Manek joined the Sooners from Harrah HS, a 35 mile drive from Norman. Manek averaged a double-double in his senior high school season with 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.
PLAY FAST, SCORE BUCKETS
• Oklahoma is off to a 9-1 start behind the highest-scoring offense in the nation. The Sooners average 94.2 points per game and have scored at least 90 points in seven of their 10 games - including three games in triple digits. Oklahoma, who ranked 331 (of 351 teams) in assists per game last season, is 17th in the country with 18.8 assists per contest.
• The Sooners aren’t just scoring in bunches - they’re playing fast. Oklahoma is fifth in the nation and first among major conferences in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo rankings (possesions per 40 minutes adjusted to the opponenet) with 78.1. Oklahoma’s average possession is 13.6 seconds long, the fastest among major conferences and fourth-fastest overall.
• Oklahoma is 5-0 when shooting above 50 percent and 5-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
• Oklahoma has scored 45 or more points in 13 of its 20 halves this season and has scored at least 42 points before halftime in all but one contest.
• OU opened 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. 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’ three total games of at least 100 points are their most in a season since 2001-02.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
• Oklahoma has gone 66-14 (.825) at Lloyd Noble Center over the past six season. Overall, the Sooners are 78-19 (.804) at the LNC in the Kruger era.
• The Sooners have won 446 of their last 519 encounters at Lloyd Noble Center, good for a remarkable .859 winning percentage. Included in the stretch was a school-record 51-game winning streak (ended in 1990-91). The Sooners also recorded a Big 12 Conference-record 37-game home court winning streak (ended in 2003).
• OU is 13-10 at home against AP Top 25 opponents in the Kruger era and has won 12 of the last 18 such contests.
• Oklahoma has won 131 of its last 138 non-conference games at LNC, including 65 of its last 69. The Sooners are 39-4 in Norman against non-conference opponents under Kruger.
• Overall, the Sooners own a 541-100 (.844) record in the LNC since the building opened in 1975.
UP NEXT: TCU
• After a short break for the holiday season, the Sooners open Big 12 play on Saturday, Dec. 30 at No. 15/12 TCU on ESPN2. The 1 p.m. contest in Fort Worth will be the Sooners third game against an AP Top 25 team within a five-game stretch. OU is 2-0 this season against ranked teams, both of which came away from home. The Sooners are 18-14 in the Lon Kruger era when both they and their opponents are in the AP Top 25.
• Oklahoma owns a 19-4 all-time record against the Horned Frogs and has won 11 of the last 14 meetings. OU leads the series 8-3 since the Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012. The Sooners boast an 8-2 series advantage when playing in Fort Worth.
• The Sooners and Horned Frogs met three times last season, splitting the regular season matchups (home team won both contests) before TCU ended the Sooners season in Kansas City with an 82-63 win in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship. Both of the regular-season meetings came down to the wire with OU outscoring the Frogs, 130-128, in total. TCU took the first game on Jan. 3, 60-57, in Fort Worth while the Sooners won the rematch in Norman on March 4, 73-68. In both games, the losing team had a lead in the final five minutes.
• OU is 4-2 in Big 12 openers under Kruger and has opened conference play with a win in four of the past five seasons.