Sooners Conclude Trip with Win over Cairns
|Points||Young - 21|
|Rebounds||Three Players - 6|
|Assists||Young - 6|
|Steals||McNeace, Shepherd - 2|
|Blocks||Three Players - 1|
CAIRNS, Australia – Oklahoma men’s basketball closed out its foreign tour Down Under with a 110-85 victory over the NBL’s Cairns Taipans on Sunday, winning all four games in New Zealand and Australia.
“Pretty much everyone had good stretches of minutes (this trip),” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger. “Everyone played their minutes well and we were really unselfish with the ball, moving the ball well and making a lot of good plays…It was huge to have an opportunity to spend time together on the court in Norman in practice and then to have the travel opportunity and to spend that time together.”
Freshman guard Trae Young totaled over 20 points in all four contests, including a tour-high 24 points on on 8-of-14 shooting on Sunday to go with nine assists. The freshman boasted averages of 22.3 points, 7.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 21.8 minutes during the four exhibition games. Young shot .525 percent from the field and 12-of-30 (.400) from behind the 3-point line.
Fellow freshman Brady Manek shot 6-of-8 (3-of-5 from 3-point range) to finish the night with 17 points. The forward averaged 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds on the trip.
Junior guard Christian James produced 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. James displayed pinpoint accuracy the past week, making 12-of-13 3-pointers (.923) and 22-of-31 total shots (.710) to average 16.3 points.
“It’s been a great trip out here, just coming out here playing hard,” said James. “I just tried to play to the best of my abilities. The whole team put in a lot of work.”
The Sooners continued their dominance on the glass, outboarding the Taipans, 49-32, behind seven rebounds each from senior Khadeem Lattin and junior Rashard Odomes. OU won the rebounding margin throughout the foreign tour by an average of 50.0 to 33.2.
Oklahoma’s ball distribution was again a factor Sunday as the team dished out 27 assists. The Sooners, who averaged 119.0 points per game Down Under, created an average of 27.3 dimes per contest. Sophomore guard Jordan Shepherd led the assisting efforts throughout the trip with 8.3 a game.
After a competitive first quarter in which the Sooners outscored the Taipans, 27-22, Oklahoma locked in defensively and allowed just nine second-quarter points and one Cairns field goal. Heading into halftime with a 59-31 advantage, the Sooners went on to lead by as many as 37 points in the second half.
The Sooners begin their long flight back to Norman on Monday morning, returning as a closer team both on and off the court.
“On the court, we definitely came together as a team and played well,” said Young. “We won all four games which was our goal – to compete and have fun. Off the court, we definitely got closer as brothers. It was great bonding time. These are moments we’re never going to be able to get back and are memories that will last forever.”
Follow along throughout the Sooners entire trip on the Sooners Down Under central page.