Oklahoma basketball: New, improved version of Sooner hoops electrifying

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Lon Kruger of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts to a lead over the USC Trojans after a timeout with Trae Young
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Lon Kruger of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts to a lead over the USC Trojans after a timeout with Trae Young /

There were few, if any, empty seats at Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday night watching the 2017-now-’18 edition of Oklahoma basketball, and  Sooner fans who were there got what they came for…

An hard-fought Bedlam battle with a big Oklahoma win and lots of points put up by the home team.

Capacity crowds watching Oklahoma basketball doesn’t occur that often. We know it is going to happen at least twice this season – the Kansas game on Jan. 23 is already sold out – and if the Sooners continue to perform as they have to this point, it is likely to happen a few more times this season.

At 12-1, including victories over three ranked teams, the Sooners are off to their second best start in head coach Lon Kruger’s seven seasons at Oklahoma. The 2015-16 OU  team with Buddy Hield began the season winning 15 of its first 16 games, including 12 in a row to start out.

Trae Young is on a pace to become the best freshman player in Oklahoma basketball history. The true freshman point guard is not only the best freshman player in the country 13 games into his college career, but is a lead contender at this early stage for Player of the Year in college basketball. The Sooners have already had two of those in the last nine years (Blake Griffin in 2009 and Hield in 2016). Could Young be the third?

Young leads the nation in scoring (29.4 points a game) and assists (10.6) and extended his streak of 20-point games to 12 on Wednesday night with 27 points in the Sooners’ 109-89 win over Oklahoma State. The Sooner superstar has scored at least 25 points and 10 or more assists in seven of Oklahoma’s 13 games this season, the most by any player in a college career in the past 20 seasons, according to the OU athletic department.

Oklahoma State enter Round 1 of 2017-18 Bedlam basketball holding opponents to an average of 67.2 points and hadn’t given up more than 85 points in any game this season. Oklahoma’s 109 points is the most scored in a Bedlam game since1990.

The Sooners have been getting out to double-digit, first-half leads and building on that over the second 20 minutes. They are averaging right at 50.0 points in the opening half this season while holding their opponents to an average of 39 first-half points.

We’ve already seem how good this team can be, and we are going to find out much more over the next week and a half. Oklahoma’s next three games are against ranked Big 12 teams: at No. 6 West Virginia on Saturday and at home to take on No. 18 Texas Tech on Jan. 9 and No. 16 TCU a week from this Saturday.

The 109-point performance by the Sooners on Wednesday night marked the fifth time this season that Oklahoma has gone over the century mark. OU’s 95.8 scoring average is tops in the country. The Sooners are one of three Big 12 teams that are shooting 50-percent or better from the field and better than 40 percent from three-point range.

If you are wondering if this is the highest scoring team in Oklahoma basketball history, the answer is no. Billy Tubbs’ 1987-88 and 1988-89 teams both averaged over 100 points a game for the entire season. The 1987-88 Sooner Final Four team averaged 102.9 ppg and the ’88-’89 team averaged 102.2.