BUBBLE BANTER: Georgia knocks off No. 23 Florida
1. TRAE YOUNG GOES OFF AS NO. 12 OKLAHOMA HOLDS OFF BAYLOR
The matchup between the Sooners and Bears in Norman produced one of the better individual duels of the season, with Baylor’s Manu Lecomte doing everything he could to lead his team to an upset. But the Sooners ultimately hung on, winning 98-96 behind a 44-point, nine-assist effort from Trae Young with 31 of those points coming in the second half. Young shot 11-for-20 from the field (6-for-11 3PT) and 16-for-19 from the foul line, with Rashard Odomes leading three other starters in double figures with 18 points.
As for Lecomte, he scored 29 points on 10-for-22 shooting from the field and dished out five assists, with Nuni Omot adding 23 points off the bench. That wasn’t enough for Baylor to pull the upset however, as Oklahoma received both a standout effort from Young (his fourth game of 40 points or more this season) and solid contributions from the supporting cast. That’s the formula the Sooners will need to lean on as they look to not only factor into the Big 12 title race but also play deep into March.
2. NO. 20 CLEMSON ENDS 10-GAME LOSING STREAK TO NORTH CAROLINA
While the Tigers missed out on their chance to win in Chapel Hill for the first time ever earlier this month, Brad Brownell’s team took advantage of its opportunity for a big win Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson shot 15-for-30 from three and hung on to win 82-78, despite North Carolina getting 32 points from Cameron Johnson and 27 from Joel Berry II. Marcquise Reed led four Tigers in double figures with 20 points, and Clemson also outscored North Carolina 22-10 in second-chance points.
For North Carolina, Theo Pinson left the game early with a strained left shoulder and Luke Maye (four points, nine rebounds) had his worst game of the season to date. But the biggest concern is the perimeter defense, which has been an issue all season long for the Tar Heels.
3. QUADE GREEN LAYUP PUSHES NO. 21 KENTUCKY PAST VANDERBILT
After coming back to win at then-No. 7 West Virginia Saturday night, the young Wildcats once again had to rally from a double-digit second half deficit on Tuesday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the charge and would finish the night with a career-high 30 points. Vanderbilt had it chances to close the game out in regulation but made just one of its final five free throws, with the game going to overtime after Gilgeous-Alexander made two free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining.
In the extra session it would be another freshman guard who provided the heroics, with Green’s layup with 4.3 seconds remaining giving Kentucky the 83-81 victory. Jeff Roberson led the Commodores with 23 points, but Vanderbilt missed out on what would have been a huge victory thanks to some shoddy foul shooting down the stretch.