Oklahoma basketball: Sooners go after 10th win at home against Northwestern


The nonconference portion of the men’s Oklahoma basketball schedule draws to a close on Friday with the 17-ranked Sooners looking to make a clean sweep in the same week of all things Northwestern.

The Sooners host the Northwestern Wildcats out of the Big Ten on Friday at Lloyd Noble Center.

Earlier in the week, Oklahoma made short work of another Northwestern – Northwestern State University out of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and the Southland Conference – hammering the Demons by the score of 105-68. It was the third time this season that Oklahoma had gone over the century mark and elevated the Sooners to the top-scoring team in the nation. They have scored more than 90 points in seven games this season.

Oklahoma leads the nation, scoring at  a clip of 94.2 points per game. The Northwestern squad that comes to Norman on Friday is averaging almost 20 points less per game than the Sooners, but the Wildcats rank 30th in NCAA Division I, allowing opponents just 63.5 points per contest.

The Sooners are led by their sensational freshman point guard Trae Young, who is the best in the country at dishing the basketball (10.2 assists per game) and also ranks No. 1 at putting the ball in the basket, averaging 28.2 points per game.

Young had 29 points in Oklahoma’s stunning win over previously No. 3-ranked Wichita State on Saturday and followed that up with a 26-point, 22-assist performance in OU’s mid-week win over Northwestern State. For that, the Sooner super freshman was named Big 12 Player of the Week and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.

Also averaging double figures in scoring for OU are junior Christian James (12.8) and another first-year player, Brady Manek (11.3). Through 10 games, the Sooners’ are shooting right at 50 percent as a team, eight points higher than they did a year ago, which partly explains their higher scoring output this season.

Senior Khadeem Lattin is fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding, snaring nearly eight boards per game, and he and junior Jamuni McNeace are third and fourth in the conference in blocked shots.

Northwestern began the season ranked 19th in the Associated Press preseason top 25, but the Cats are 9-4 after 13 games and have dropped out of the rankings. One of their four losses coming against Texas Tech out of the Big 12 (85-49).

Northwestern is led on offensive by Scottie Lindsey, who is averaging 15.8 points a game. Three other Wildcats are averaging in double figures: Vic Law (13.7), Bryant McIntosh (13.4) and Derek Pardon (11.2). As a team Northwestern is shooting 44 percent from the field.

This is the final nonconference game before OU begins Big 12 play. A win over Northwestern would give the Sooners 10 for the season against just one loss (92-83 to Arkansas in the first round of the PK80 Invitational). Oklahoma opens up Big 12 action at TCU, which is currently undefeated, 10-0 on the season and ranked 15th in this week’s AP Top 25.