Sooners Head to WVU for Top-10 Matchup
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
From Khadeem Lattin’s tip-in to Buddy Hield’s buzzer-beater-that-wasn’t to Jordan Woodard’s overtime winner - the Sooners and Mountaineers have had some epic games in the recent years. Now, Saturday’s 6:15 p.m. showdown is shaping up to be another classic.
No. 7/7 Oklahoma (12-1, 2-0 Big 12) heads to Morgantown to face No. 6/5 West Virginia (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) for the Sooners’ first top-10 matchup since 2016. Oklahoma is 3-3 under Lon Kruger when both teams are in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 (1-1 in such games against WVU) and 18-20 all-time.
The Sooners head into WVU Colliseum where the Mountaineers have won 28 of their last 31 home games - but two of those three losses have come to the hands of OU. Oklahoma looks for its third straight win in Morgantown (it would be the first school to do so since Baylor in 2013-15) as Trae Young and the nation’s highest-scoring offenses face the “Press Virginia” defense.
ON THE AIR
Saturday’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 televised nationally on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.
• Freshman guard Trae Young leads the country in both scoring (29.4) and assists (10.6). The reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, Young enters Saturday’s contest with 12 straight games of at least 20 points, surpassing Stacey King (1988-89) and Wayman Tisdale (1983-84) on Wednesday for the longest such streak in program history. Young has also produced double-doubles in his last five games (all have come with at least 25 points), and aims to be the first Sooner since Blake Griffin in 2008-09 to record six straight double-doubles.
• Young isn’t the only Sooner freshman off to a strong start. Rookie forward Brady Manek is coming off a career-high 28 points against Oklahoma State, in which he shot 9-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 from behind the arc. Young (29.4 points per game) and Manek (11.8) are the highest-scoring freshman duo in the country at a combined 41.2 points per game. Duke’s Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr. (35.6 points) rank second among freshman duos.
• Saturday’s matchup will be OU’s third road game of the season. OU is 2-0 on the road and 3-0 against ranked opponents away from home. OU’s two previous road wins came against then-No. 3 Wichita State and then-No. 10 TCU. Should the Sooners win, they would be the first team with three road wins over top-10 teams since Duke in 2014-15.
An unranked Sooners team won its only road game of the 2016-17 season in Morgantown behind Jordan Woodard's overtime heroics. OU looks to its new point guard, Trae Young, to secure another win in the mountains.
OKLAHOMA'S LAST TIME OUT
• Oklahoma won its 10th straight game by defeating Oklahoma State, 109-89, in the 234th Bedlam meeting on Wednesday at Lloyd Noble Center. With the win, OU improved to 137-97 all-time in the series and is 85-27 in Bedlam games played in Norman.
• Freshman guard Trae Young produced 27 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in Wednesday’s win - finishing one rebound shy from what could have been the program’s first points-rebounds-assists triple-double.
• Another Oklahoma native put together a career performance in his first Bedlam game as Brady Manek led the Sooners with 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting (6-of-8 from 3-point range). The freshman has scored at least 20 points in three of his last five games.
• Sophomore guard Kameron McGusty led the bench with 15 points and shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range. The sophomore has scored in double digits in five straight games.
• Junior guard Christian James reached double figures for the 12th time this season by scoring 12 points and shooting 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
• The Sooners shot 35-of-64 (.547) from the field and 15-of-27 (.556) from 3-point range. Oklahoma is 7-0 this season when shooting above 50 percent and 4-0 when making at least 14 3-pointers. Oklahoma’s 109 points were its most this season, and the most in a Big 12 game since scoring 108 in triple-overtime at Kansas in 2016. The Sooners scored the most points in a regulation Big 12 game since putting up 103 against Baylor in 2005.
• OSU entered the game allowing 67.2 points per game and had not allowed a team to score over 85 points all season. The Sooners put up 109 in OU’s highest-scoring Bedlam game since 1990 and the fifth-most points in a non-overtime game by a Big 12 team in the conference’s history.
SERIES HISTORY VS. WEST VIRGINIA
• The Sooners own a 9-5 record all-time against West Virginia, and lead the series 3-2 for games played in Morgantown. West Virginia will be ranked in the top 10 while hosting Oklahoma for the third straight season.
• Oklahoma has won two straight in the WVU Coliseum, winning 89-87 (OT) last season (WVU was ranked No. 7) and capturing a 76-62 victory in 2016 (WVU was ranked No. 10).
• 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 41.2 points per game – the most by any freshman duo in the country.
• In 13 games, Young has put together eight double-doubles, 12 20-plus-point games and five 30-plus-point games. Young is averaging 29.4 points, 10.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting .471 from the field and .402 from 3-point range. He leads the nation in scoring and averages over 12 points more than any other Big 12 player (Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham is second with 17.9). Young’s 10.6 assists also lead the country. No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists.
• Just 13 games into his collegiate career, Young already ranks in the top 10 among all-time OU freshmen in numerous categories for season totals, sitting at eighth in points (382), fourth in assists (138), fifth in made 3-pointers (51) and sixth in made foul shots (107).
• Young has put together a double-double in five straight games - the ninth-longest double-double streak in program history. Young has scored at least 25 points in all five games of the streak and is the first college player in at least 20 years to record five straight games of 25 points and 10 assists. Young has recorded 25 points and 10 assists in six of his 13 games this season - the most in a college CAREER in the past 20 years by a player from a major conference. The second-most in the last two decades came from Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine with five such performances in 144 career college games (2012-16).
• Manek has also found success in his first two months, putting together averages of 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting .536 from the field and .433 from 3-point range. He's earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in two of the last three weeks.
PLAY FAST, SCORE BUCKETS
• Oklahoma is off to a 12-1 start behind the highest-scoring offense in the nation. The Sooners average 95.8 points per game and have scored at least 90 points in 10 of their 13 games - including five games in triple digits. Oklahoma, who ranked 331 (of 351 teams) in assists per game last season (10.6), is fifth in the country with 19.5 assists per contest this year. The Sooners also rank ninth in made 3-point field goals per game with 11.5 treys.
• The Sooners aren’t just scoring in bunches - they’re playing fast. Oklahoma is third in the nation and first among major conferences in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo rankings (possesions per 40 minutes adjusted to the opponent) with 78.5. Oklahoma’s average possession is 13.4 seconds long, the fastest among major conferences and third-fastest overall.
• Oklahoma is 7-0 when shooting above 50 percent and 7-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
• Oklahoma has scored 45 or more points in 17 of its 26 halves this season and has scored at least 40 points before halftime in all but one contest.
• The Sooners have scored at least 100 points in five games – their most in a season since the 1992-93 season, when Oklahoma reached the century mark in nine games.
• OU has scored over 80 points in all 13 games, its longest streak of surpassing 80 points since doing so in 16 straight games in 1987-88. The 1988-89 “Billy Ball” squad scored 80 points in 20 straight games.
UP NEXT: TEXAS TECH
• The Sooners return to Norman for back-to-back home games against ranked opponents. Oklahoma hosts No. 18 Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The Sooners have won 10 straight games at Lloyd Noble Center and have not lost in the building since Feb. 8, 2017 to West Virginia.
• Oklahoma owns a 38-23 lead in the all-time series. The Sooners have won seven of the last 10 meetings and six of the last seven contests in Norman. The Sooners are 8-4 against Tech in the Lon Kruger era and hold a 5-1 record in Norman under Kruger.
• Tuesday’s matchup will be freshman guard Trae Young’s first game against Texas Tech, his father’s alma mater. Rayford Young averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals over four seasons (1996-2000) with the Red Raiders.
• Tickets start at just $10 and are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here.