No. 9 Oklahoma Beats No. 16 TCU In 102-97 Classic; Trae Young Goes Off For 43 Points
Every game inside the Lloyd Noble Center has become a different story with the same ending. Each have started, had something different happen in the middle, and eventually end with Oklahoma winning. However, a 43-point performance that will be talked about for a long time to come has cemented that one story has now happened: Trae Young beat a good team, and did it all by himself…until he didn’t need to.
After scoring 16 straight points, Trae Young had an opportunity with 15 seconds left to score points 17 and 18 (or possibly 19) in a row to, essentially, seal the game while taking a lead. As he noticed Kenrich Williams backing up, he went for a pump-fake that Williams did not bite on.
As that is going on, Christian James is hanging out by the block. He notices his defender goes to help the ball screen for Young, and decides to leak away from him to the opposing three point line. Young notices the help defense and pulls up to shoot. Instead, he pump faked…and found James in the corner.
My vantage point from the Young-James go ahead three today.
Crazy how the play developed.
As James sees the play happening, he knew Trae would need help—leaks back to 3pt line with his defender going to help the PnR.
Spoiler: Young knew he’d be there.
Chemistry is insane pic.twitter.com/4qYs7rlO0U
— Kegan Reneau (@KeganReneau) January 13, 2018
“Being the competitor I am, obviously I want the last shot, and I want the game to be in my hands,” Young said about one of the final plays of regulation. “But I thought I made the right play, and the right play was throwing it to Christian (James). I have so much trust he is going to knock it down, and he did.”
No. 16 TCU was up to the billing. They went back to the same play that did not work in the heartbreaking loss against Texas on Wednesday night. Jaylen Fisher got the ball, ran past Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace thanks to a screen at mid-court, and laid the ball in to tie the game and send it in to overtime. Wednesday night, Fisher had the same look and missed. He was sure he wouldn’t do it again.
“I knew I was going to make this one,” Fisher told reporters after the game.
“Nothing. Nothing,” he said if anything was different.
The last 15 seconds of the game was not telling of the final score, but it encapsulated of how the game went. Trae Young and his teammates were doing everything right in the first eight minutes of the game. They jumped out to a 24-13 lead behind two highlight threes from Young, nine points from Manek, and a scrum that ended up in a highlight put-back from Jamuni McNeace. TCU Head Coach, Jamie Dixon, called a timeout to try and kill the momentum.
The game got turned on its head. TCU went on a 10-0 run to answer, and even took a 29-27 lead in just over the next five minutes.
Over the next 22 minutes, the lead continued to go back-and-forth. Trae Young kept his shooting from earlier in the game going, scoring 28 points already. Brady Manek had accumulated 15 of his 24 points, also. From there, Young decided to take it to another level.
With 5:26 to go in the game, Oklahoma’s deficit reached six at 80-74. Young received a pass from Kristian Doolittle in the corner after getting away from the defense. However, his defender recovered before anything happened. Young’s next move was a pump-fake, then a dribble between the legs…and he ended up losing the defender. He then attempted a contested step-back, and hit it. That three was one of the next 12 points that Trae Young scored after TCU took a commanding lead.
“That’s the best feeling in the world–when you feel like every time you shoot the ball it’s going to go in,” Young said about his run. “I was in a groove the second half, for sure.”
All of this leads up to the final 15 seconds, that ended up not being enough to decide a winner, and making the game a lot less entertaining.
Four Kristian Doolittle free throws gave Oklahoma a four-point lead in overtime. TCU guard Jaylen Fisher, as he did in regulation, answered with a three to push the deficit to one. Trae Young hit another one of his step-back, contested threes, and then Fisher answered with another three, again. At 99-97, the game finally went back to being normal as Khadeem Lattin hit two free throws to eventually seal it for the Sooners.
“Obviously, just a really good team. I thought (it was) two teams battling like crazy out there.” Oklahoma Head Coach, Lon Kruger, said following his team’s 102-97 win. “Neither one could create too much of a margin. Guys on both teams laying it out there, and it was a fun battle.”
Trae Young’s final stat line finished at 43 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. After the game, he was complimentary of his teammates, and had good reason to be.
Brady Manek had a huge first half with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-7 from behind three, before finishing with 22 points total. Christian James only scored seven points with two rebounds and an assist, but five of those seven came in the last possession of the game and the first possession of overtime. James was also a +18 in the game, with the next highest being a +6.
“Lot of guys making plays, and couldn’t be more proud.” Kruger said. “They keep working at it, and they keep getting better.”
After today’s win, No. 9 Oklahoma is tied at the top of the Big 12 standings with No. 2 West Virginia, No. 8 Texas Tech, and No. 12 Kansas. The Sooners, and an expected Top 5 ranking, travel to Kansas State (12-5, 2-3) on Tuesday. Lon Kruger has not won at his alma mater since his first season as Oklahoma’s head coach.