Sooners and Trojans Clash at Staples Center
FRIDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (6-1) brings its up-tempo, high-scoring offense to the West Coast when it faces No. 25/25 Southern California (4-2) at STAPLES Center on Friday in Los Angeles. The matchup with the Trojans is Oklahoma’s first game against a ranked opponent this season. The Sooners are 25-36 against AP Top 25 teams in the Lon Kruger era and hold a 4-6 record under Kruger when facing a ranked non-conference opponent on a neutral court. Friday’s game is the middle matchup in a triple-header for the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic and will tip at 9:30 p.m. CT.
The contest will be Oklahoma third straight “neutral site” game its played in enemy territory this season. The Sooners also faced Portland and Oregon in Portland during PK80 last month, winning both games.
ON THE AIR
Friday’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 ESPN2 and will also be available through the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com. Roxy Bernstein and Bill Walton will call the action.
• Freshman guard Trae Young continues to lead the country in scoring with 28.7 points per game. Young enters Friday’s contest with five consecutive games of scoring at least 28 points. In his last five games, Young is averaging 32.8 points and 7.6 assists while shooting .500 from the field, .380 from 3-point and .922 from the foul line. His efforts thus far landed him in the No. 1 spot of the season’s innagural Frosh Watch put together by CBS Sports and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
• Oklahoma continues to boast one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. The Sooners rank second nationally in points per game (94.4) and are sixth in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo. Oklahoma has scored at least 82 points in all six of its wins this season and has topped 90 points on five occasions.
• Friday night’s matchup with Southern California will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The famous arena is home to the Los Angeles Clippers and former OU standout Blake Griffin. The National Player of the Year and top NBA draft pick in 2009, Griffin is in his ninth season with the Clippers. Griffin’s No. 23 hangs in the rafters of OU’s Lloyd Noble Center and he has played a significant role in recent Oklahoma projects by providing funding for the Griffin Family Performance Center and ushering in OU’s new partnership with Jordan Brand.
Averaging 94.4 points per game, the Sooners have the second-highest-scoring offense in the country.
OKLAHOMA'S LAST TIME OUT
• Oklahoma improved to 6-1 with a 97-85 win over UTSA (5-5) on Monday at Lloyd Noble Center.
• After a slow shooting start (Oklahoma missed 11 of its first 13 shots), the Sooners shot 22-of-44 (.500) in the second half and outscored UTSA 55-48 in the frame. Christian James, Jamuni McNeace and Trae Young all scored in double figures in the second half alone, combining for 31 points on 13-of-21 shooting.
• For the seventh straight game, Oklahoma was led in scoring by freshman guard Trae Young. The nation’s leading scorer, Young totaled 28 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes. Young was two points shy of hitting the 30 point mark in four straight games, but has scored 28 or more points in his last five outings (averages 38.8 points during that stretch).
• Junior center Jamuni McNeace scored a career-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 15 minutes. McNeace added eight boards and three blocks.
• Junior guard Christian James reached double-digit scoring for the sixth time this season, notching 14 points to go with eight rebounds.
• Senior forward Khadeem Lattin secured 11 rebounds in his third game of double-digit boards this season.
• The Sooners continued to show improved ball movement, dishing out 15 assists. Oklahoma scored its third-most points of year and surpassed 90 points for the fifth time in seven games.
SERIES HISTORY VS. USC
• 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.
• The Sooners are 4-0 against Pac-12 opponents during the Lon Kruger era and 1-0 this season. OU took down Oregon, 90-80, in its third game of PK80 in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 26. Oklahoma is 118-69 all-time against current members of the Pac-12.
• Oklahoma is off to a 6-1 start behind the second-highest-scoring offense in the nation. The Sooners average 94.4 points per game and have scored at least 90 points in five of their seven games - including a pair of games in triple digits. Oklahoma, who ranked 331 (of 351 teams) in assists per game last season, is 14th in the country with 18.7 assists per 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.
• Oklahoma is 4-0 when shooting above 50 percent and 4-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
• The Sooners aren’t just scoring in bunches - they’re playing fast. Oklahoma is sixth in the nation in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo rankings and first among teams from major basketball conferences.
• Oklahoma’s offensive efforts have been led by the scoring and passing of freshman guard Trae Young. In seven games, the Norman native has put together three double-doubles, six 20-plus-point games, three 30-plus-point games and a 43-point performance (Nov. 26 vs. Oregon). Young is averaging 28.7 points, 8.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals while shooting .476 from the field and .379 from 3-point range. 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 19.4). Young’s 8.7 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 is the first player in Big 12 history to receive conference honors in each of the first four 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 and Dec. 4.
• Young ended the month of November averaging 28.8 points, 8.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals. He 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.
• Up next, the Sooners continue a challenging portion of their non-conference slate when they head to Wichita, Kan., to face No. 6/6 Wichita State on Saturday, Dec. 16. The 3 p.m. contest will be played in Wichita’s downtown arena, INTRUST Bank Arena, and air on ESPN2.
• Oklahoma owns a 4-2 all-time record agaisnt the Shockers and 3-1 when facing them in Wichita.
• The Sooners and Shockers met in the 79th All-College Classic in Oklahoma City last season as Wichita State escaped OKC wih a 76-73 win. Jordan Woodard led the Sooners with 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Christian James put together 15 points.
• Wichita State, a former member of the Missouri Valley Conference, is in its first season in the America Athletic Conference. Oklahoma is 4-2 against current members of the AAC under Lon Kruger.