Oklahoma basketball: Sooners go 2 for 2 in season openers

Freshman Trae Young set the tone for the start of the 2017-18 men’s Oklahoma basketball season.

The five-star McDonald’s All-American point guard led the Sooners with a sensational three-tool performance in his college debut and a 108-89 Sooner season-opening victory over Nebraska-Omaha.

Young, who grew up locally in Norman in the shadow of the University of Oklahoma, set the tone for the new season, and after the game, head coach Lon Kruger goaded Sooner fans with the comment: Get used to it, because you’re going to be seeing more of it this season.

Known for his exceptional skill putting the ball in the basket, Young demonstrated that his contributions go much further than just the scoring column. In addition to team-leading 15 points, the OU freshman also had 6 rebounds and 10 assists in 26 minutes of action in the OU season opener.

Young was one of two freshman who started the game for the Sooners. Brady Manek, a 6-foot, 9-inch forward from Harrah, Oklahoma, was 5-for-7 from the field, contributing 11 points and six rebounds to the OU victory.

Juniors Christian James and Jamuni McNeace each had 14 points for the Sooners, and McNeace was big on the defensive end as well with six blocked shots. As a team, the Sooners had 13 blocks in the game.

Oklahoma shot 54 percent in the first half in building a 52-38 halftime advantage, and remained hot in the second half, shooting 56 percent for the game. The Sooners outrebounded their opponent from Omaha by a margin of 15 (46-31) and had 16 second-chance points.

Kruger said after the game:

“This should be a deep squad. Obviously, the deeper the better. It’s nice to know you can go deep into the bench and get good production.”

On Young’s performance, the Sooner head coach said:

“Not surprised that he did that. It’s not going to be unusual that he does that. We expect him to make good plays and expect him to push the pace and make good decisions.”

Oklahoma is next in action on Wednesday, when the Sooners host Ball State, out of the Mid-America Conference, at Lloyd Noble Center.

The Oklahoma women also won their season opener, a 96-73 victory over Belmont on Friday.

Senior Vionise Pierre-Louis had a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the No. 22 Sooners to the victory. Maddie Manning added 17 and LaNeisha Williams had 10.

The Lady Sooners jumped out to a 29-12 advantage in the opening quarter on 10 of 19 shooting and were never headed from there, ending up with a field goal percentage of 50 percent for the game.

The Sooner women, winners of 19 of their last 20 season openers, hit the road for a game Monday night against 25th-ranked DePaul Blue Demons.