Trae Young tied a career-high with 43 points, grabbed a career-high 11 boards and added seven assists as No. 9 Oklahoma survived No. 16 TCU in overtime, 102-97.
The Horned Frogs opened up an 80-74 lead with just under six minutes remaining, but Oklahoma made their run. Down by one with six seconds left on the clock, Young drove and found Christian James in the corner for a three that would give the Sooners an 89-87 lead.
TCU’s Jaylen Fisher responded with a bucket after going coast-to-coast – virtually the same shot that he missed in a double-overtime loss at Texas – to force overtime:
Oklahoma would pull away in overtime, meaning that for the fourth time in five games, the Horned Frogs suffered a heart-breaking, close loss in a game they very well could (or should) have won.
And to me, that’s the story of this game.
Not Young’s triple-double – he also added 10 three pointers.
TCU has become the first casualty of the insanity of playing a Big 12 schedule.
In their league-opener, TCU lost at home to Oklahoma and Young when Young went for 39 points and 14 assists, leading the Sooners back from down 11 points in the final 10 minutes. (Jamie Dixon is going to have nightmares of Trae Young pick-and-rolls.)
They won their next game, beating Baylor at home in overtime, before falling by four points at home against Kansas. Their next game was a double-overtime loss at Texas, the first game the Longhorns played after Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia and a game they would have won if Fisher hadn’t missed a game-winning layup. Then there was Saturday’s five-point loss to the Sooners.
All told, No. 16 TCU, who was ranked No. 10 at one point, has lost four games in the Big 12 by a total of 11 points. Two of those losses were by a single point. Two of them came in overtime. One was in double-overtime. Even their win over Baylor came in overtime in a game where Baylor blew a lead down the stretch.
What does this all mean?
Well, we’ve been telling you for more than a month that the Big 12 is a bear of a conference, and TCU is the perfect of this fact. If a couple balls bounce their way, they can very easily be 3-2 in the Big 12. They’ve played well enough to be 5-0 in the conference, and if Baylor had played a little better in overtime, TCU would be sitting at 0-5.
What makes this scary for TCU is that they still haven’t played No. 2 West Virginia this year. Or No. 8 Texas Tech. They still have to play at No. 12 Kansas. If they go 1-4 in those games, suddenly that’s eight losses for TCU.
And this isn’t a bad TCU team. I’m not sure they’re the 16th-best team in the country, but I do think they are one of the 25-30 best teams, good enough to win a game in the NCAA tournament, to get to the second weekend if the draw is right.
That team is 1-4 in the Big 12 with five games left against top 12 teams.
The Big 12 is no joke.