Manek scores 18, leads Oklahoma past Wofford 75-64
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Last season, Trae Young’s greatness overshadowed Brady Manek’s strong freshman year.
With Young now in the NBA, Manek is breaking out. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds to help Oklahoma defeat Wofford 75-64 in its home opener on Sunday afternoon.
Manek grabbed double-digit rebounds for the third straight game. The sophomore forward had 11 points and five rebounds in the second half and helped establish an aggressive mentality.
“I thought the first half, they were a little bit more physical on the boards than we were,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “In the second half, with Brady leading the way, I thought we were a little bit stronger on the boards.”
Christian James scored 15 points and Miles Reynolds added 12 for the Sooners (3-0).
Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, the Southern Conference preseason player of the year, scored 19 points. Storm Murphy and Nathan Hoover each added 10 points for the Terriers (2-2).
Wofford, which was picked to finish second in its conference, led 38-37 at halftime. Magee scored 13 points and the Terriers made seven 3-pointers.
Oklahoma took a 56-53 lead on a layup by Reynolds with just over nine minutes remaining. Manek hit a reverse layup, was fouled and made the free throw to put the Sooners up 59-54.
Manek later caught an alley-oop lob from Aaron Calixte to put the Sooners up 71-57 with 4:11 remaining.
The Sooners were pleased with the way they closed the game. After Wofford took a 53-52 lead with 9:59 to play, Oklahoma outscored the Terriers 23-11.
“They amped it up a little bit and we didn’t respond very well,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “I’m most disappointed with our lack of cohesiveness defensively. They banged us up on the glass a little bit and started putting their head down and driving it and we didn’t respond very well.”
Wofford: The Terriers only lost to No. 7 North Carolina by 11 points in their season opener and clearly weren’t intimidated by another big-name program. They looked good early against the Sooners but shot just 31 percent in the second half.
“We’ve done a lot of really cool things,” Young said. “We don’t take a lot of consolation in getting our tails whipped. I’ve got a good team that’s expected to play better. Oklahoma had something to do with that. They were a little bit better than we were today.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners continued to evolve in their post-Trae Young transformation at point guard. Reynolds and Calixte are sharing most of the ball handling. Calixte went without a turnover in 29 minutes and Reynolds had two turnovers in 18 minutes.
“After three games, everyone has got a lot of work to do and we’re no different,” Kruger said. “We’ve got to flow a bit more seamless from transition into half-court offense. The ball hangs just a little bit. We’ve got to attack a little bit more there.”
Young, on Oklahoma’s late run: “That can happen. You’re on the road against a Big 12 opponent, certainly one the caliber of Oklahoma. I saw a number of good things. I’m looking forward to getting back and getting better.”
James continued his hot start to the season. Through three games, he’s averaging 22.7 points, and shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Wofford: The Terriers host Coppin State on Wednesday.
Oklahoma: The Sooners play Florida on Wednesday in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP