OU men's basketball: Brady Manek joins Sooners' 1,000-point club in 83-63 win against TCU
NORMAN — With less than a minute left in Saturday's game against TCU, Brady Manek found himself at the free-throw line.
The Oklahoma junior forward sunk both with ease and was then subbed out. As he headed to the bench, an announcement came over the speakers at the Lloyd Noble Center. Manek had reached a career milestone.
His two free throws were point 1,000 and point 1,001 of his OU career.
A big smile came across Manek’s face as he heard the announcement, and he high-fived everyone on the Sooners’ bench as they congratulated him.
“I knew that I was close,” Manek said of the importance of the free throws. “I didn't know exactly how close, but I knew I was close.”
In a game where the Sooners needed a win to snap a two-game losing streak, they got one in dominant fashion, beating TCU 83-63. Better ball movement and better shooting were a big part of Oklahoma’s strong performance, but Manek’s play had the greatest impact.
The milestone was meaningful for Manek. The Harrah native grew up watching the Sooners (12-5, 3-2 Big 12). He credited his teammates for finding him so often.
“A lot of my points have been catch-and-shoot,” Manek said. “I have to give it up to them.”
Not only did Manek become the 46th Sooner to score 1,000 career points, he also did so in a career-high game. His 31 points and seven made 3-point shots were both career bests.
While this game was the best of Manek’s career, it came one game after he struggled against Kansas on Tuesday.
“It frustrated me all week, it tore me,” Manek said. “But I bounced back.”
Manek was helped by one of OU’s best-ball-movement games of the season. The Sooners entered play Saturday last in the Big 12 in assists per game but had 20 assists against TCU.
“Best ball movement we’ve had in awhile,” Kruger said. “Guys did a really good job of driving and kicking and making the extra pass.”
The extra pass sometimes turned into an extra two or three passes for the Sooners, but it usually ended in a bucket.
Early in the second half, sophomore guard Jamal Bieniemy brought the ball up and passed it to De’Vion Harmon. The freshman guard found Kristian Doolittle who drove toward the basket and then kicked the ball out to Bieniemy in the corner. Bieniemy saw Manek across the court and chucked it to him. Manek knocked down a 3-point shot, and OU extended its lead.
Manek led the way for the Sooners from start to finish against the Horned Frogs (12-5, 3-2 Big 12). He scored OU’s first five points off a 3-pointer and a jump shot and finished with the team’s last five points as well, another 3-pointer and the pair of free throws.
“He stepped up and delivered,” Kruger said. “He's been shooting the ball well. When he makes shots, it's no big surprise because he does that extremely well.”