Isaiah White scored 22 points as sixth-seeded Southern California reached its first Elite Eight since 2001 by dispatching No. 7 seed Oregon 82-68 in the West Regional semifinals on Sunday night in Indianapolis.
Tahj Eaddy scored 20 points, Isaiah Mobley added 13, and Evan Mobley had a strong all-around game — 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists — as USC (25-7) eliminated Pac-12 foe Oregon (21-7).
USC led 41-26 at halftime and pushed the lead to 52-32 after back-to-back 3-pointers from White and Drew Peterson. The lead was still 20 with less than nine minutes left, but Oregon stepped up its defensive intensity and went on an 11-0 surge to get within 69-60 with 3:52 to go.
Eaddy answered Oregon’s momentum with a clutch 3-pointer, ending USC’s stretch of 5:30 without a field goal. The Ducks committed a turnover on the ensuing possession, and Evan Mobley followed with a thunderous two-handed dunk for a 74-60 lead that helped seal the victory.
Eugene Omoruyi led the Ducks with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Duarte scored 21, but no other Oregon player scored more than eight.
The Trojans are the third Pac-12 team to reach the Elite Eight, joining Midwest No. 12 seed Oregon State and East No. 11 seed UCLA. USC will face the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, Gonzaga, on Tuesday.
White, a senior transfer from Utah Valley, hit a career-high four 3-pointers and matched his career-best point total with USC. The Trojans shot 58.8 percent (10 of 17) from beyond the arc.
USC, which held Drake and Kansas below 30-percent shooting while winning its two previous tournament games by a combined 50 points, often used a zone defense and limited Oregon to 30.3 percent from the field in the first half. The Ducks improved to 44.4 percent shooting after halftime, but their deficit was too big to overcome.
In the first half, an Evan Mobley dunk sparked a 12-0 run for a 33-19 advantage with 4:30 to go before halftime. Eaddy matched White with 12 first-half points, including a layup with seven seconds left for a 41-26 halftime edge.
–Field Level Media