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Baylor's zone could be challenging for No. 12 Oklahoma, Young

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma point guard Trae Young has seen just about everything thrown his way defensively during the last month or so.

Defenses have run double teams his way regularly, sometimes even triple teams. A few times, defenses have run a box-and-one on the Oklahoma standout.

It has worked to some degree. Young's assist numbers in particular have dipped slightly recently as has his ability to get to the free-throw line, but Young is still putting up unusual numbers.

He remains the national leader in scoring and assists, averaging 29.6 points and 9.6 assists per game. No player has ever led the country in both categories since assists became an official NCAA stat in 1983-84.

On Tuesday night, Young gets a unique test when No. 12 Oklahoma hosts Baylor.

Scott Drew's Bears play an aggressive zone defense that can make it more difficult than most zones to shoot against, but hitting outside shots against it -- not just from Young but from other spots -- figures to be critical.

"I'm prepared for anything now," Young said. "But if they run a zone, I feel like if we're shooting good, they'll be out of it quick."

Because of the way teams have defended Young and the Sooners, it has become difficult for Oklahoma to prepare.

"I don't see people getting box-and-oned," Young said. "I watch college games all day every day and I don't see that ever.

"Then you also never see that on tape whenever you see other teams play or just trapping him as soon as get gets the ball and then getting it out of his hands.

"I've seen every defense. I've just got to continue to find ways to get the ball out of my hands quicker and be able to get it back in different areas. I watch a lot of film. I'm going to continue to get better."

Likewise for Baylor, it's a unique challenge facing Young for the first time.

"I think the big thing that everyone tries to do is to make it as tough on him as possible," Drew told the Waco Tribune. "If that's from trapping ball screens, to denying him the ball, to whatever ways people have tried to slow him down -- from running two at him -- you just want to make things difficult on him.

"At the same time, the other teammates are more than capable. So you can't just concentrate solely on him."

The Bears do have a player familiar with facing Young in reserve guard Tyson Jolly.

"I played against him his freshman and sophomore years and my junior and senior years in high school," Jolly told the paper. "He was really good then too, just a little older now.

"We're going to stick to our principles. We're going to find him in transition. We're going to pressure the ball and make him be a driver. We're going to rely on our teammates and our bigs to stay back and make him finish."

Both teams are in need of a win. The Sooners have dropped three of four. Baylor has lost five of its last six, losing three consecutive games for the first time since January 2014.

Updated January 29, 2018

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