INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The dark days of Southern California lasted much longer than the Trojans wanted.
Once upon a time, the elite program fell into mediocrity, losing seasons mixed with short NCAA tournaments.
With two weeks to play their best in two seasons, the Trojans are leaning into a corner, possibly to the Final Four.
Isaiah White scored 22 points և USC closed Oregon’s strong offense to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 20 years, winning the Western Conference semifinals 82-68 on Sunday night.
“We’re making history, it just means a lot to this project,” White said. “As a team, we are just excited, we worked for it, so I’m glad it works.”
The style of the Pac-12 Dark Indy was transformed into a light show by USC.
The Trojans (25-7) cut the high-flying ducks along their perimeter, and in the middle – 7 feet Evan Moble. Offensive Seed No. 6 bombed և Oregon’s defenses, firing 57% և 10 out of 3.
For the second time in 60 years, USC topped the All-Eight in the Elite Eight, and for the first time since 2001, three Pac-12 teams in the regional finals.
The undefeated Gonzaga is on fire next Tuesday in the regional final.
“We believe we can beat anyone,” White said.
Oregon certainly had no answer for the long-armed Trojans.
Seventh Seed Ducks (21-7) fled after the USC crossed the belt early, unable to find holes or spill anything on it, until the late rally, which was cut short. The Pac-12 top 3-point shooting team (38%) came out of the bow 5 of 21.
Eugene Omori had 28 points with 10 rebounds, and Chris Duarte had 21 doubles.
“I defeated the boys. “I was not ready for them in that zone,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “I thought it was us, but their length and sportiness really bothered us.”
Oregon և USC have been a major part of the Pac-12’s unexpected success in Circle City.
Selected to be the worst major league in the world, West opened the NCAA Tournament with nine straight victories, and four teams competed in the Sweet 16.
Oregon և UCLA had already advanced, so the competition between Bader ադ Trojans meant the Pac-12 trio in the Elite Eight.
Oregon was in a familiar position և deepening for the fourth time in five NCAA tournaments this March. USC had to go back to 2006-07. Team with Nick Young և Taj Gibson for his latest Sweet 16 ride.
The Trojans won the regular season single-game match 72-58 with a quick start.
They did the same in the return match, slowing down the fast-moving Ducks.
Normally free-flowing, Oregon struggled to get through the large, high-guard “paint-anchored Mobley” over the USC belt.
Offensively, the USC was more like the Ducks than they were, scoring 3 points, hitting the edge, using the 17-2 run, rising 14 points. The Trojans were ahead 41-26.
In the opening 3 1/2 minutes of the second half, USC extended the lead to 20, until the Ducks were finally brought to life. The 11-0 race reduced the difference in the USC score to 69-60, but the rally was without steam.
Oregon turned it around, thwarted the lobby attempt, and then Moble threw two-handed dumpsters at Frank Kepnang.
“When you try to come back from our deficit, you just can’t make those mistakes,” Altman said.
OMORUI E IN BLOCKER
After moving from Rutgers, Omori played just one season in Oregon, but it was unique.
6 feet (6 feet) Ontario striker 6 Ducks did everything the player could do during the season, scoring a goal, striking back and defending his nose in defense.
When he left the game at the last minute, the emotions ran out. He hugged Altman, who was walking down the floor with the other team members behind the bench.
“I will miss this group,” he said. “This is definitely my favorite band to play with. We are just a family out of court. “Now is a heartbreaking moment.”
Mobley was the fourth leading scorer in the USC, scoring 4 points from 6 to 6 shots.
His impact was much higher than his overall score.
The 7-meter freshman dominated on both ends, capturing eight rebounds, scoring six assists, blocking two shots and substituting a few others.
“He takes what the defense gives him, he trusts his teammates,” said USC coach Andy Anfield. “When your most talented attacking player is your most lucrative, most voluntary transfer, you can win a lot of games like that.”
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