Oklahoma takes down No. 3 Wichita State 91-83
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By JEFFREY PARSON
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) No one had to convince Oklahoma's players that Saturday's game at No. 3 Wichita State presented a measuring stick of sorts.
Sooners star guard Trae Young believes the 91-83 victory "will open a lot of eyes in the college basketball world," and fellow freshman Brady Manek agreed.
"That's probably the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of," Manek said. "We just showed that we can play on a big stage against a great team."
Young, the nation's leading scorer, led the way. He finished with 29 points and 10 assists, but it was his 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the game's first 9 minutes that set the tone for the Sooners (8-1).
Young has scored at least 28 points in seven straight games.
Manek scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half for Oklahoma. Christian James and Kamron McGusty each had 13 points for the Sooners.
"We let them get comfortable in the first half," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said, "and you can't do that against a team that talented and that well-coached."
Behind Young and Manek, Oklahoma stormed to a 54-39 halftime lead. The Shockers entered Saturday allowing 68.2 points a game. The Sooners were 20 of 40 from the field and 10 of 23 from the 3-point line in the half.
"That's probably our best half because Wichita State is really good," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said.
Wichita State trailed 80-63 with 7:15 remaining but held Oklahoma scoreless for nearly 6 minutes. The Shockers closed within 84-78 but got no closer.
Marshall marveled at Young.
"I haven't coached against a freshman that plays the game at that level," Marshall said. "Hedging, switching; we tried everything against him. Trae Young is not going to get rattled. He is too good."
Wichita State entered the game leading the nation with a rebounding margin of 14.6 per game. The Sooners and Shockers each finished with 43 rebounds.
"Rebounding was a five-man effort," Kruger said. "Our guys knew how great they are at it. We talked about it all week."
Wichita State played its eighth game at Intrust Bank Arena, which will host NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games in March.
The Shockers won their first six games in the arena but have now lost two straight, including a 93-76 loss to Oklahoma State last season.
Manek, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Harrah, Oklahoma, had only attempted more than nine shots in one game this season. He had 10 by halftime Saturday, and that was a great thing for the Sooners.
Manek was 6 of 10 from the field and 4 of 8 from the 3-point line in the first half. His 16 points were more than any two Shockers combined.
"Brady had a really good rhythm, so we just kept going to that play," Young said.
Oklahoma: The Sooners will vault into the rankings, and Young should become even more of a household name.
Wichita State: The Shockers missed their final opportunity for a marquee non-conference victory, one that might hurt them for NCAA Tournament seedings.
Oklahoma: The Sooners face visiting Northwestern State on Tuesday
Wichita State: The Shockers play visiting Arkansas State on Tuesday.
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Updated December 16, 2017