Young’s 27 lift No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 8 Texas Tech 75-65
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Texas Tech’s aggressive defense made Trae Young look like a typical freshman in the first half.
Young was back to being his dynamic self in the second. The national scoring leader had 22 of his 27 points after the break to help No. 9 Oklahoma beat No. 8 Texas Tech 75-65 on Tuesday night.
Young, who also leads the country in assists, made just 1 of 12 shots in the first half. He drained 6 of 11 in the second to help the Sooners bounce back from a loss to No. 2 West Virginia on Saturday.
The Red Raiders simply couldn’t keep up with Young for 40 minutes.
“We had a couple lapses, but that’s basketball,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I just think what he does is that he exposes your lapse every time. There are mistakes all over in every game, but there are only certain players like Trae that can put the ball wherever he wants.”
Young also had nine assists and four steals for Oklahoma (13-2, 3-1 Big 12), which won its 11th straight at home.
It was a special night for Young, whose father, Rayford, averaged 14.1 points for Texas Tech from 1996 to 2000.
“I had a lot of emotions and I let that get to me,” Trae Young said. “I just settled down the second half. Got more spacing and found my teammates in the second half.”
Oklahoma shot 56 percent in the second half. Texas Tech entered the night ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 59 points per game.
Christian James had 15 points and Khadeem Lattin added 11 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks for the Sooners.
Lattin anchored a strong defensive effort for a team that is better known for lighting up the scoreboard.
Keenan Evans scored 19 points for Texas Tech (14-2, 3-1). He was the only Red Raider to reach double figures. Tech shot 37 percent overall.
“We didn’t give them many easy looks,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “A lot of them were contested. They had six assists the whole game so we did a pretty good job of defending shooters and making them earn their points.”
Tech led 31-29 at halftime after holding the Sooners, the nation’s top scoring team, to 31 percent shooting. Young still made his mark with six assists and four steals in the first half.
Young hit his first 3-pointer nearly three minutes into the second half to give the Sooners a 36-31 lead. He followed that with two more to push the advantage to 11.
Tech later closed the gap to four, but the Sooners bounced back again. Young’s 3-pointer on a scramble with just under five minutes left made it 68-59. He found James for a 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining to bump the lead to 13.
Texas Tech: Tech was one of the few teams to really bother Oklahoma’s offense for an extended period, but the Red Raiders struggled to create open shots and couldn’t take advantage on the other end. The Red Raiders also committed 15 turnovers, which helped the Sooners get their fast break going and eventually helped them find their rhythm.
Oklahoma: The Sooners didn’t want to lose two games so early in league play in a season where the conference race looks wide open. It was a good experience for Young, who adjusted well against a tough defensive team.
Beard on Young: “We had multiple ideas. You can’t have just a one layer game plan to play against him because he is just too good.”
Forward Zach Smith was out with a foot injury. The preseason first-team All-Big 12 selection has averaged just 6.5 points per game, but Beard said the Red Raiders missed him.
Texas Tech: Hosts No. 2 West Virginia on Saturday.
Oklahoma: Hosts No. 16 TCU on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .