Trae Young's Brilliance Propels Oklahoma to Narrow Win vs. TCU

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2017

TCU guard Shawn Olden (2) defends as Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) drives past during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)
Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners handed the No. 10 TCU Horned Frogs their first loss of the season Saturday, winning 90-89 at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, due to another spectacular showing by freshman guard Trae Young.

Young helped the Sooners improve to 11-1 with 39 points, 14 assists, four rebounds and two steals. He also had seven turnovers.

TCU fell to 12-1, despite a great game from senior guard Kenrich Williams, who finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Williams missed the Horned Frogs' last game against William & Mary, but he bounced back from a knee injury to play Saturday.

His stat sheet-stuffing performance wasn't enough for the Horned Frogs, though, as Young's dominance and a 22-point effort from Kameron McGusty allowed Oklahoma to prevail despite trailing for much of the game.

Here's a lengthy highlight reel featuring many of Young's remarkable plays:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

No. 12 Oklahoma comes away with a 90-89 win against No. 10 TCU behind Trae Young’s 39 points and 14 assists https://t.co/8vXJWHaeFA

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Oklahoma entered rarefied air with its second true road win over an AP Top 10 team this season before January:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Teams to win multiple true road games vs AP Top-10 teams before January: Oklahoma (2017-18) Notre Dame (1976-77) Ohio State (1961-62)

Young was as good as advertised, and big-time makes from beyond the arc littered his shot chart:

According to Micah Adams of ESPN Stats & Info, Young is on a ridiculous tear in terms of points accounted for:

Micah Adams @MicahAdams13

Over his last 3 games, Trae Young is scoring or assisting on 68.7 PPG. He scored or assisted on 69 of Oklahoma's 90 points... and it was NOT his season-high.

While most of the focus was understandably on Young entering the game, TCU carried the first-half action.

The Horned Frogs played solid defense in holding Oklahoma to 41 opening-frame points, and they often turned that defense into offense, as seen in this video from TCU Basketball:

TCU Basketball @TCUBasketball

Good defense turned to good offense. #GoFrogs https://t.co/yarD9DibOe

Young finished the first half with 19 points and seven assists, but he didn't receive much help.

Also, Williams stayed with Young for much of the opening half, and SI.com's Jeremy Woo was quick to point out his importance:

Jeremy Woo @JeremyWoo

While you’re focused on Trae Young today, keep one eye on TCU’s Kenrich Williams. Nice blend of versatility, rebounding and perimeter shooting. Good fit for positionless ball.

TCU held a five-point advantage at halftime, and it continued to build upon it throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half.

With 10:49 remaining in regulation, the Horned Frogs were up by 13 points, and Oklahoma showed few signs of mounting a comeback. The tide began to turn minutes later, however, as Young and McGusty took over and provided virtually all of the Sooners' offense.

With 2:26 left, a McGusty trifecta tied the game at 83-83. TCU regained the lead shortly thereafter, but Young tied it again with a jumper.

McGusty gave Oklahoma the lead at 88-87 with 31 seconds left when he nailed yet another dagger from long range.

After Williams made it 89-88 in favor of TCU, Young was fouled with seven seconds remaining, and he showed his mental toughness by making both free throws to put Oklahoma back on top.

TCU had a chance to win it with the final shot, but as seen in this video from Mike Leslie of WFAA, it forced a long, contested shot that was off the mark:

Mike Leslie @MikeLeslieWFAA

That’s a force. #TCU gets an air ball out of their last possession. #Oklahoma on its way to a come-from-behind road win. https://t.co/1atq3UgJLe

Young wasn't on his own, but he was the driving force behind Oklahoma's ability to overcome a double-digit deficit in the second half.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman was among those who were in awe over Young:

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

For a minute let’s forget about whether Trae Young is the next Curry. Just appreciate how good he is at college basketball. Not sure they make them any better offensively.

The Ringer's Bill Simmons was even more effusive in his praise of Young, putting him on a pedestal all his own:

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Trae Young is the best freshman college guard I have ever seen.

Oklahoma is on a nine-game winning streak, and it will continue to be tested early in Big 12 play. After a game against Oklahoma State, the Sooners will face No. 7 West Virginia and No. 22 Texas Tech before a Jan. 13 rematch with TCU.

The Horned Frogs arguably have an even tougher road coming up with No. 18 Baylor, No. 11 Kansas and Texas on the schedule prior to their second meeting with the Sooners.

Saturday's game lent credence to the idea that the Big 12 may be the deepest, most talented conference in college basketball, and Young's mere presence gives the Sooners a great shot to be near the top of the conference all season.