Orlando, FL – The Mean Green of North Texas started red hot from behind the arc to open the contest, hitting their first 3 three-pointers. Neither team gathered any kind of offensive rhythm until shots began to fall for Oklahoma midway through the first half. UNT continued to shoot well, hitting nine three-pointers in the first. It was tied 38-38 at the break, and thanks to a 21-point second half by Trae Young, Oklahoma was able to pull out an 82-72 victory.
Young, a true freshman, impressed once again by hitting 10 of his 18 shots, including 6-of-11 from three. He added 10 assists, consistently finding teammates in situations with open looks. On the year he is now averaging 28.2 points and 8.6 assists per night, while shooting 48 percent from the field and 89 percent from the free throw line.
Young has incredible feel for the game and high basketball IQ. His IQ stands out on the defensive end by the way he anticipates passes; tonight he had three steals, one of which came with three minutes left in the game. After gaining possession he made a perfect behind-the-back pass to Christian James in transition, whose dunk put the Sooners up by 10 and brought the home crowd to its feet. What stands out the most about Young is his ability to shoot. He has shown a natural ability to score from anywhere on the floor, in particular NBA three point range. His ability to score combined with his vision and control of the game, makes him a tremendous threat.
A player that may go unnoticed tonight is North Texas’s Ryan Woolridge. Woolridge drew a tough assignment in being asked to shadow Young on defense, but that didn’t stop him from contributing on offense. Tonight he recorded nine points, six rebounds, eight assists and two steals. While these numbers aren’t staggering, he does the little things correctly. He showed real first-step quickness with the ball in his hand, consistently being able to get around Young, or any other Sooner defending him. The 6-foot-3 sophomore consistently created opportunities for his teammates, almost every pass he made resulted in an open shot opportunity. He wasn’t very aggressive in attacking the rim, even when he had good looks. He seemed more interested in facilitating his teammates who were open, primarily due to his man needing help defense, creating the passing lanes.
North Texas opened strong and shot the ball well, but their turnovers were too much to overcome late in the game. With the win tonight, the Sooners improve to 5-1 and North Texas drops to 4-4.
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