Oklahoma Tops No. 25 USC: Hall of Fame Basketball Classic Recaps

LOS ANGELES, Sporting Alert – Trae Young had 29 points and nine assists and Oklahoma picked up a narrow 85-83 victory over No. 25 Southern California in the Hall of Fame Basketball Classic tripleheader on Friday night at Staples Center.

Trae Young - Oklahoma Sooners

Trae Young of the Oklahoma Sooners

LOS ANGELES, Sporting Alert – Trae Young had 29 points and nine assists and Oklahoma picked up a narrow 85-83 victory over No. 25 Southern California in the Hall of Fame Basketball Classic tripleheader on Friday night at Staples Center.

Young, who leads the nation in scoring this season, shot 9 of 18 from the floor as the Sooners (7-1) held off a late charge from the Trojans (4-3) to win five straight.

The freshman guard scored 20 of his total points in the first half, as he surpassed 28 points for the sixth straight game.

“Trae brings a skill that not a lot of people have,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said.

“The players appreciate and recognize that and do a good job of playing off of him. You can run a lot of different things with the ball in Trey’s hands.”

Hall of Fame Basketball Classic
Oklahoma stats v USC – Hall of Fame Basketball Classic

Christian James added 19 points, matching his career-best with five 3-pointers along with five rebounds, while Brady Manek finished with 15 points for the Sooners (7-1), shot 45 percent and made 15 3-pointers.

“It makes it a lot easier when your teammates are as good as mine,” Young said. “When they’re able to knock down shots and make plays on their own it makes it a lot easier on me.

“The last 5 minutes of the game I feel like is on me. We had a pretty big lead that I let the other team get back in the game.”

Elijah Stewart scored 23 points with seven 3-pointers for the Trojans (4-3), who never led and trailed by as many as 18 points early in the second half.

Jordan McLaughlin ended with 20 points and nine assists and Chimezie Metu grabbed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Bennie Boatwright had 10 points and nine rebounds and Nick Rakocevic chipped in with 10 points and eight boards for USC, which was losing its third straight game.

Hall of Fame Basketball Classic
USC stats v Oklahoma – Hall of Fame Basketball Classic

Trailing by 10 points at 81-71 with 1:40 remaining, the Trojans outscored the Sooners 12-4 to finish the game, but fell just short of their target.

“We fight all the way to the end,” Stewart said. “We had a good look going at the end.

“Half-court shots are always tough to make. It was right there for us, we just fell short.”

Oklahoma will be inactive until it visits No. 6 Wichita State on Dec. 16.

USC, meanwhile, will host Santa Clara on Thursday.

In the other two Hall of Fame Basketball Classic games played at Staples Center on Friday night, No. 20 TCU beat No. 22 Nevada, while No. 16 Arizona State defeated St. John’s.

Jaylen Fisher scored 20 points with six assists and Kenrich Williams added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the 84-80 win over Nevada for the Horn Frogs, who won 10 straight and extended their nation’s-best winning streak to 15 games.

Cody Martin had a game-high 27 points with 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals to lead Nevada, with Jordan Caroline adding 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolf Pack (8-2).

Meanwhile, Romello White had 22 points and nine rebounds for the 16th-ranked Sun Devils (8-0) to stay undefeated after holding off St. John’s 82-70.

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