Oklahoma’s Trae Young almost certainly just played the last game of his NCAA career, and he busted his ass. Today’s 83-78 overtime loss to Rhode Island featured the entire Rams team each making important contributions, while Young put practically all of his Sooner teammates on his back.
Young did everything for Oklahoma, as usual, leading all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting, adding seven assists and five boards. Despite a long scoring drought in the middle of the game, and some first-half foul trouble, he seemed to be the only Sooner who could score, engineering his own personal 9-2 run late in the second half to evaporate the Rams’ lead.
But Rhode Island had plenty of energy, too, firing off tons of threes, forcing turnovers, and finishing dunks. Point guard Fatts Russell ran the offense with authority. In the last five minutes of the second half, however, Young was unstoppable, turning a 58-64 deficit into a 69-69 tie with zero offensive help (not even an assist!) from his teammates. It was brutal to see such a force of nature just silently hoping for someone else to hit a goddamn shot and shut down the Rams’ double-teaming efforts. The rest of Oklahoma was 0-of-5 from the field in the second half’s final eight minutes.
Young still was able to do enough to send it to OT, but in the first four minutes of the extra period, Oklahoma couldn’t hit a field goal, and Young’s desperate, frustrated threes didn’t have any magic in them. An E.C. Matthews dagger put the Rams up 74-72 with under two minutes to go, and Oklahoma never got closer.
Rhode Island was technically supposed to win, based on seeding, but it was impressive to see one of the most talented guys in the whole tournament drag his whole team behind him as he kept the game close and even pushed it to OT. Rhode Island will get Duke or Iona on Saturday. Young will most likely get ready to be drafted by yet another bad team—this time, in the NBA.