Lon Kruger's men's OU basketball squad is on its way back home after sweeping all four off its Ne..."/> Lon Kruger's men's OU basketball squad is on its way back home after sweeping all four off its Ne..."/>

OU basketball: Sooners close out ‘Down Under’ tour with 4th straight win

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Alex Robinson
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Alex Robinson /

Lon Kruger’s men’s OU basketball squad is on its way back home after sweeping all four off its New Zealand/Australia opponents and topping 100 points in each game.

Once again, the Sooners rode the scoring and distribution of McDonald’s All-American Trae Young, who led Oklahoma for a fourth straight game with a tour-high 24 points in a 25-point 110-85 victory on Sunday over the Cairns Tapains of  Australia’s National Basketball League.

The game with Cairns was fairly close in the first quarter. OU led by just five, 27-22, after the opening quarter, but the second quarter was another story. The Sooners outscored the Taipans 32-9 in the second stanza to open up a 59-31 halftime advantage.

Young exceeded 20 points in all four Oklahoma wins on the international exhibition tour, serving notice to Sooner opponents and the Big 12 that this is a much different, more dangerous and more complete Oklahoma team than the 11-20 team of last season.

The home-grown freshman shooting guard averaged 22.3 points a game to lead Oklahoma in scoring in the four-game summer exhibition tour. He also averaged seven assists per game and shot 52 percent from the field, including 12 of 30 from three-point range.

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Fellow freshman Brady Manek, a 6-foot, 9-inch forward.. contributed 17 points in the Sooners win over the Taipans. Manek made six of eight shots, including three of five from behind the three-point line, in 16 minutes of action.

Junior Christian James reached double figures in the scoring column for a fourth straight game. He had 13 points in the win on Sunday and averaged 16.3 points in the four games, second best on the team for the tour behind Young.

Oklahoma averaged 119 points in the four games, topping the century mark in all four. The Sooners also averaged 27.3 assists per game, led by sophomore Jordan Shepherd’s 8.3 per contest.

The Sooners also commanded the backboards during the tour, posting an average rebounding margin of 50.0 to 33.2.

“Everyone played their minutes well, and we were really unselfish with the ball, moving the ball well and making a lot of good plays,” Kruger said in an article published on the Oklahoma athletic website. “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 time together.”

Team chemistry is very important to a basketball team. The extra time afforded the Sooners by this international tour opportunity in what would otherwise be offseason should contribute greatly to the Sooners’ marked improvement in the upcoming college season.