The Oklahoma Sooners were once agin led by Trae Young on Friday night, but it took a great team performance to put them over the top for an 85-83 win over the No. 25 USC Trojans at the Staples Center.
FINAL: Oklahoma 85, No. 25 USC 83 pic.twitter.com/Wm34Uc7FZA— Crimson & Cream Machine (@CCMachine) December 9, 2017
Oklahoma had an 81-71 lead with 1:36 to go in the game, but shaky free throw shooting by the Sooners and quick buckets for the Trojans allowed USC an opportunity to potentially win it with about three seconds on the clock. Fortunately, a long-distance heave sailed wide of the rim and allowed Oklahomans to take a deep breathe.
Trae Young scored 29 points and dished out nine assists to lead the way for Oklahoma, but plenty of others stepped up in a big way. Christian James was phenomenal as he scored a season-high 19 points and went 5-6 from deep, while freshman Brady Manek added 15 points of his own. The unsung hero of the night was perhaps Khadeem Lattin, who blocked six shots and converted a crucial and-1 opportunity right as USC was making a run with just under eight minutes remaining.
As anticipated, Bill Walton was Bill Walton on Friday night. At one point his partner, Roxy Bernstein, asked Walton to take a stab at who had won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in the past. His guesses were Billy Sims, Blake Griffin, Barry Switzer, George Kaiser, Woody Guthrie, Phil Oates, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and the Arkansas River. Never change, Bill.
This Oklahoma team had some of the serious scoring runs and impressive defensive stops that will make you believe that they can really do something special this season. Trae Young is going to do his thing every night, but OU really thrives when the other guys take advantage of the offensive opportunities that become available as a result of Young’s play. That certainly happened tonight on the offensive end. The defense could perhaps be a bit more consistent, but this young team certainly has plenty of promise on that end, as well.
Both teams went 30-67 from the field for a FG percentage of 44.8, but OU’s edge came from beyond the arc as OU hit 15 of 31 attempts from deep. OU also won the turnover battle on Friday night, turning it over only 11 times compared to USC’s 17 giveaways.
The 7-1 Sooners will travel to Kansas next weekend to face the No. 6 Wichita State Shockers for a Saturday showdown at INTRUST Bank Arena. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2 next Saturday.