OU Rocks Jayhawks with Late Comeback

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Associated Press
By Associated Press
JANUARY 23, 2018
5/5 Kansas
Kansas
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12/11 Oklahoma

NORMAN (AP) — Trae Young vowed to make changes after his spectacular, yet inefficient game against Oklahoma State.

He wasn't kidding.

Oklahoma's fabulous freshman point guard had 26 points on just nine field goal attempts, and the 12th-ranked Sooners rallied to beat the fifth-ranked Jayhawks 85-80 on Tuesday night.

Young scored 48 points against Oklahoma State, but he took 39 shots and missed potential game-winning 3-pointers at the end of regulation and overtime in a loss. Before that, he turned the ball over 12 times in a loss to Kansas State.

"The way I played at OSU — I was overly aggressive at OSU," Young said. "I think tonight, I managed the game a lot better. I got back to the way I was playing before last week and even before K-State. I managed the game a lot better and teammates did a great job of making plays, too."

Kansas coach Bill Self was impressed with the way Young adjusted.

"Kid played great," Self said. "I mean he got 26 points on nine shots. That's very impressive for a guard, and he was very under control and seemed to make the vast majority of the right plays for his team."

Christian James scored 15 points and Brady Manek added 14 for the Sooners (15-4, 5-3 Big 12), who won their 13th straight at home.

Svi Mykhailiuk scored 24 points and Malik Newman added 20 for Kansas (16-4, 6-2), which had won five straight.

Devonte' Graham, Kansas' leading scorer, finished with 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting.

"I just missed shots," Graham said. "I told the guys in the locker room that you could put this one on me because I felt like I let the team down today. I had good open shots, but I was just missing them."

Kansas led for most of the second half before Young made two critical, unselfish plays. James' 3-pointer with 1:09 remaining on an assist from Young put the Sooners up 82-80. Manek later drained a 3-pointer, also on an assist from Young, to make it 85-80 with 25 seconds to play.

"It's in Trae's hands to make a read and decision and create," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "We did that all night, really. He made a good play to find Christian and Christian jumped in there and knocked it down. Brady did the same thing on the next possession. Two big shots."

Oklahoma effectively limited Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. The 7-footer scored nine points, all in the second half. He played with foul trouble and made just 1 of 7 free throws.

Oklahoma drew the second foul on Azubuike with 10:14 left in the first half and Kansas leading 19-13. The Sooners went on a 13-4 run in the next three minutes to take the lead.

The Sooners led 43-41 at halftime. Young took just four shots and had six assists before the break, and he didn't attempt a 3-pointer. Newman led Kansas with 15 points in the half and Mykhailiuk added 11. Graham was held to 7 points on 2 for 9 shooting before the break.

Azubuike made three consecutive buckets during a stretch early in the second half to give Kansas a 55-47 lead.

Oklahoma chipped away and got within striking range. The Sooners intentionally fouled Azubuike, a 41-percent free-throw shooter coming in, several times. He missed all five of his free throws in the final 3:37 to help the Sooners get back into the game.

"It was definitely frustrating because we didn't really get a chance to run anything," Graham said. "But I guess it was pretty smart on them doing that."

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The Jayhawks were two games ahead of the rest of the Big 12 in the loss column and missed a chance to take control of the conference race.

Oklahoma: The Sooners needed a win after the two road losses to unranked opponents. They also helped the rest of the league stay within range of the Jayhawks.

STAT LINES

Young's nine field-goal attempts were his fewest of the season. He had attempted at least 20 shots in each of his previous five games. He had five turnovers against the Jayhawks, down from 12 against Kansas State and seven against Oklahoma State last week. He also attempted just three 3-pointers after taking 20 against Oklahoma State and at least 10 in each of his previous five games.

COACHES VS. CANCER

Oklahoma's coaches and staff wore Nike Metcon 3 sneakers to support Suits and Sneakers Week, a Coaches vs. Cancer initiative that benefits the American Cancer Society. The National Association of Basketball Coaches is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Coaches vs. Cancer.

ROAD RUN SNAPPED

Kansas had won 10 straight true road games dating to last season.

UP NEXT

The Sooners take a break from conference play to participate in this year’s edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. In this season’s Challenge, the Sooners head to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 1:15 p.m. CT on ESPN.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • The Sooners extended their home winning streak to 13 consecutive games with Tuesday night’s win. OU’s winning streak is its longest since winning 19 home contests from Jan. 17, 2015 to Feb. 8, 2016. OU is 10-0 at the LNC this season.
  • Oklahoma has won four games against top-10 teams this season, which ties a school record. The Sooners also won four contests against opponents ranked in the top 10 at the time of competition in 2001-02 (OU’s fourth top-10 win came on March 21 that season).
  • Tuesday’s win was the third time in the past six seasons that OU has defeated a top-10 Kansas squad inside the LNC.
  • OU is 17-7 against AP ranked Big 12 teams at home during the Lon Kruger era. When both the Sooners and their opponent are ranked, Oklahoma is 13-1 at home under Kruger.
  • The Sooners improved to 13-18 overall and 6-6 at home against AP top-10 teams in the Kruger era.
  • Trae Young led the Sooners with 26 points and nine assists in 40 minutes of action. Young was 7-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep, while finishing 10-for-12 from the free throw line.
  • Young now ranks first among OU freshmen with 153 free throws, passing Jordan Woodard (146, 2013-14) for first place. He already entered the evening ranked first in OU freshman history in total assists and 3-pointers.