With just over a minute remaining in regulation, it was clear that desperation as well as anger had set in for the No. 25 USC Trojans. Down by eight points, to the Oklahoma Sooners, the home team found themselves in a defensive stand that should have resulted in a stop. However, fouling forward Khadeem Lattin bailed the the away team out.
Missing the free throw, the Trojans continued to chip away at the deficit. Connecting on free throw after free throw, USC pulled to within 83-78 with 32.8 seconds remaining. Needing a miracle, Jordan Usher was forced to foul Trae Young in order to get the ball back. However, it would cost a couple of points as the true freshman extended the lead back out to eight.
Refusing to give up, Jordan McLaughlin slashed toward the basket with the ball in his hands. Laying the ball up, the senior’s shot fell after being fouled. Sinking the shot, McLaughlin gave the Trojans hope of a win as the score settled at 85-83. Wtinessing Oklahoma missing the final four free throws of the outing, fans knew one shot could win the contest. Fortunately, a heave from half court missed the mark and the game was over.
The nation’s leading scorer continued the streak of 20+ point games. Currently standing at seven consecutive games of 20+, Young scored a team high 29 on the evening. With the effort, names such as Brent Barry (averaged 37 points per game for a season )as well as Pete Maravich (averaged 44 points over his career) surfaced. Yet, Young is not just a volume shooter. The youngster also involves his teammates. Collecting nine dimes, Young’s assist average should continue to rank third in the nation.
Helping to put away the Trojans, Christian James showcased his versatility on both ends of the court. Dropping in 19 points, the junior set a new career high in scoring. Joining in the effort, freshman Brady Manek added another 15 points of his own.
The biggest area of concern continues to be bench scoring. At this current juncture in time, the Oklahoma Sooners are without Kristian Doolittle due to academic issues stemming from the spring. Rejoining the team later this month, Doolittle should provide a boost to the second unit before eventually earning a starting role.
A test at No. 6 Wichita State will reveal just how competitive this team can be with top tier programs. Set for December 16th, the action can be viewed on ESPN2.