The Oklahoma Sooners finally got back into the win column after a six-game slide by defeating the Kansas State Wildcats, 86-77. In a sold-out Lloyd Noble Center, Trae Young was that dude once again, going for a game-high 28 points and seven assists. Christian James, Jamuni McNeace and Brady Manekwere also key contributors, all scoring in double figures. The Sooners are now 7-9 in Big 12 play, with two conference bouts left to go before the start of the Big 12 Tournament.
The Sooners played with a clear heightened sense of urgency to start both halves, which was essential for staving off the comeback minded Wildcats. Trae Young wasn’t the only one who sought out his teammates in this game. It was a team effort when it came to ball movement and finding the better looks. Young still accounted for over half of the team’s total assists, but it was evident from the jump that the Sooners made a concerted effort to make the opposing defense play honest.
It was the return of the three-ball in Norman today. Oklahoma made 11 three-pointers, which is the most makes in a game for the Sooners since the 12 makes in the Baylor game on January 30th. That also happens to be the last time the Sooners won a game before today’s victory. When this Oklahoma team is consistently draining threes, they are as dangerous as any team in the country, despite the issues on the defensive end of the court. It also helps when the opponent shoots the three-ball as poorly as Kansas State did tonight, who went 4-21 from beyond the arc.
This Oklahoma team looked like it was having fun again. Trae Young was threading the needle and dropping dimes, all with a smile on his face and high fives to go around. Even when the Wildcats made their runs, the Sooners never appeared to hangtheir heads or go into a shell. Simply leading throughout the majority of this game certainly played a significant part in that, but Oklahoma started this game with an upbeat attitude and it showed. Finishing a game like this with a win should pay major dividends as the regular season winds down.
Next Tuesday, the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears in the final game for the month of February. The Sooners won the first meeting with the Bears this season by a score of 98-96. It was a high-scoring affair and was a competitive fight all the way to the finish. Trae Young did the heavy lifting in that game, recording 44 points and nine of Oklahoma’s 11 assists. A player to watch for this time around is Baylor forward Nuni Omot, who came off the bench and went 6-6 from three-point range, pouring in 23 total points. With Selection Sunday just two weeks away, the Sooners need to capitalize off today’s win and finish out the season with some momentum.