NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma guard Kameron McGusty knows what teammate Brady Manek is going through.
They play a different position, with Manek standing four inches taller, and are from different backgrounds, McGusty hailing from Katy, Texas, near the Houston metroplex, and Manek from the small town of Harrah. But the crux of their game is the same. Each is at their best when hitting shots from the perimeter.
For 24 of the season's first 26 games, McGusty had to do that while coming off the bench. Now, it's Manek's turn, as OU substituted him out of the starting lineup for the last four games.
“It's a different feeling coming off the bench,” McGusty said. “You're coming in and they expect you to hit shots. You've got to be in the gym to the point to where you know every shot is going in. You just have that confidence and you know that, as soon as it comes off your hand, it's going in.
Manek has been trying to get his rhythm back. After the loss to Texas, his most recent start, in which he shot 3 of 13 and 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, he was the first Sooner back out on the court, practicing shots with his father, Cary.
At Lloyd Noble Center, the lanky 6-foot-9 forward has shot 52.8 percent on 3-pointers and 57.1 overall. Away from home he's shot 24.7 percent from outside the arc and 37.9 overall. Yet, one of Manek's best games this season came at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, when he scored 21 points on a season-high 16 shots in a win over the Shockers. He's trying to find that kind of game again as the Sooners play on neutral court from here on out.
• Getting Cousy: OU freshman Trae Young was announced this week as one of the five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to college basketball's top point guard.
Young, who leads the nation in scoring (27.5) and assists (8.9) was included in the preseason watch list for the award. Select media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers narrowed that list of 20 players down to the five finalists. The winner will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Hall of Fame committee. Fans can vote at HoophallAwards.com until March 23.
Kansas' Devonte’ Graham, North Carolina's Joel Barry II, Villanova's Jalen Brunson and West Virginia's Jevon Carter are the other finalists.
• Neutral advantage: The Sooners are tied with West Virginia and Iowa State for the most neutral-court games played among Big 12 teams, with four.
OU went 2-1 at the PK 80 tournament, held in Portland, Oregon to honor Nike co-founder Phil Knight's 80th birthday. The Sooners lost in the first round to Arkansas, but then beat two teams, Oregon and Portland from the Beaver State. Then, OU beat Southern Cal at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a little more than two miles from the USC campus.
Iowa State is undefeated on neutral court, at 4-0, and West Virginia is 3-1. Baylor, at 2-0, and TCU, at 3-0, are also undefeated on neutral court, and Kansas State is the only Big 12 team that has a losing record in such games, at 1-2.
• Doo the glass: Forward Kristian Doolittle has grabbed a rebound in every game he's played at OU.
Doolittle has kept that streak alive despite playing eight or fewer minutes in six of his 20 games this season. It's the second longest streak on the team, as forward Khadeem Lattin has pulled down a rebound in 99 straight games. Doolittle pulled down double-digit rebounds for just the second time this season in the win over Iowa State Friday. Over the last four games, since being inserted into the starting lineup, he's averaged 6.0 points and 6.8 rebounds.
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