INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Isaiah White scored 22 points and Southern California shut down Oregon’s potent offense to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 20 years with an 82-68 win in the West Region semifinals Sunday night.
Pac-12 After Dark Indy-style turned into a lights-out performance by USC.
The Trojans (25-7) clipped the high-flying Ducks with their length on the perimeter and 7-footer Evan Mobley in the middle. Offensively, the region’s No. 6 seed bobbed and weaved through the holes in Oregon’s defense, shooting 57% and 10 of 17 from 3.
The all-around domination put three Pac-12 teams in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2001 and gives USC a shot at undefeated Gonzaga in the region finals Tuesday.
Oregon certainly had no answer for the long-armed Trojans.
The seventh-seed Ducks (21-7) floundered against USC’s zone, unable to find holes or get much of anything to drop over it until a late rally that came up short. The Pac-12’s best 3-point shooting team (38%) went 5 of 21 from the arc.
Eugene Omoruyi had 28 points 10 rebounds, and Chris Duarte scored 21 for the Ducks.
Oregon and USC have been a big part of the Pac-12’s unexpected success in the Circle City.
Picked to be the worst among the major conferences, the big league out West opened the NCAA Tournament with nine straight wins and got four teams through to the Sweet 16.
Oregon State and UCLA already advanced, so the showdown between the Ducks and Trojans meant a Pac-12 trio in the Elite Eight.
Oregon was in a familiar position, running this deep into March for the fourth time in five NCAA Tournaments. USC had to reach back to the 2006-07 team with Nick Young and Taj Gibson for its last Sweet 16 ride.
The Trojans won the teams’ lone regular-season meeting 72-58 by getting off to a fast start.
They did the same in the rematch by slowing the fast-moving Ducks.
Normally free flowing on offense, Oregon had a hard time solving USC’s zone between the big guards up top and the shot-swatting Mobley anchoring the paint.
Offensively, USC looked more like the Ducks than they did, pouring in 3s and getting shots at the rim, using a 17-2 run to go up 14. The Trojans led 41-26 at halftime.
USC stretched the lead to 20 in the opening 3 1/2 minutes of the second half before the Ducks finally came to life. An 11-0 run cut USC’s lead to 69-60, but the rally ran out of steam when Mobley threw down a two-handed dunk over Franck Kepnang.