USC routs Oregon to reach Pac-12 title game for first time since 2009

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans brings the ball up the court against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans brings the ball up the court against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Kenny Wooten #1 of the Oregon Ducks and Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans fight for a rebound during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Kenny Wooten #1 of the Oregon Ducks and Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans fight for a rebound during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans is fouled as he goes to the basket against Abu Kigab #24 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans is fouled as he goes to the basket against Abu Kigab #24 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans celebrates on the court after teammate Elijah Stewart (not pictured) #30 hit a 3-pointer against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans celebrates on the court after teammate Elijah Stewart (not pictured) #30 hit a 3-pointer against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans recovers the ball after making a steal against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans recovers the ball after making a steal against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans recovers the ball after making a steal against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans recovers the ball after making a steal against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Elijah Stewart #30 of the USC Trojans dunks against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Elijah Stewart #30 of the USC Trojans dunks against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans reacts after teammate Elijah Stewart #30 dunked against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans reacts after teammate Elijah Stewart #30 dunked against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives against Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives against Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks shoots against Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks shoots against Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Elijah Stewart #30, Chimezie Metu #4, Jonah Mathews #2 and Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans celebrate on the court after Stewart hit a 3-pointer against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Elijah Stewart #30, Chimezie Metu #4, Jonah Mathews #2 and Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans celebrate on the court after Stewart hit a 3-pointer against the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans celebrates on the bench late in a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans celebrates on the bench late in a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic, left, and Oregon’s Victor Bailey Jr., center, and Troy Brown reach for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic, left, and Oregon’s Victor Bailey Jr., center, and Troy Brown reach for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans looks on as Jordan Usher #1 falls to the floor in front of Jonah Mathews #2 during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans looks on as Jordan Usher #1 falls to the floor in front of Jonah Mathews #2 during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives against Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives against Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: MiKyle McIntosh #22 of the Oregon Ducks passes from the floor in front of Shaqquan Aaron #0 and Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: MiKyle McIntosh #22 of the Oregon Ducks passes from the floor in front of Shaqquan Aaron #0 and Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Troy Brown #0 of the Oregon Ducks goes in for a dunk against Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Troy Brown #0 of the Oregon Ducks goes in for a dunk against Chimezie Metu #4 of the USC Trojans during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, right, shoots over Southern California’s Jonah Mathews during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, right, shoots over Southern California’s Jonah Mathews during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic, right, defends as Oregon’s Payton Pritchard looks for a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic, right, defends as Oregon’s Payton Pritchard looks for a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Abu Kigab, right, covers a shot from Southern California’s Jordan McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Abu Kigab, right, covers a shot from Southern California’s Jordan McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Southern California’s Elijah Stewart reacts after a score during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Elijah Stewart reacts after a score during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Southern California’s Jonah Mathews gestures after scoring a 3-point basket during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Jonah Mathews gestures after scoring a 3-point basket during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Southern California’s Jonah Mathews, left, passes the ball around Oregon’s Kenny Wooten during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Jonah Mathews, left, passes the ball around Oregon’s Kenny Wooten during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Southern California’s head coach Andy Enfield instructs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s head coach Andy Enfield instructs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Troy Brown covers a shot from Southern California’s Elijah Stewart during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Troy Brown covers a shot from Southern California’s Elijah Stewart during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Roman Sorkin, left, covers a shot from Southern California’s Charles O’Bannon Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Roman Sorkin, left, covers a shot from Southern California’s Charles O’Bannon Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s head coach Dana Altman instructs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Southern California in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s head coach Dana Altman instructs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Southern California in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Paul White, right, and Southern California’s Elijah Stewart pull down a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Paul White, right, and Southern California’s Elijah Stewart pull down a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s MiKyle McIntosh passes from the court while covered by Southern California’s Shaqquan Aaron (0) and Jonah Mathews (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s MiKyle McIntosh passes from the court while covered by Southern California’s Shaqquan Aaron (0) and Jonah Mathews (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Kenny Wooten, left, and Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic reach for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Kenny Wooten, left, and Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic reach for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • USC’s Chimezie Metu defends as Oregon’s MiKyle McIntosh shoots during the second half of Friday’s Pac-12 Tournament semifinal in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    USC’s Chimezie Metu defends as Oregon’s MiKyle McIntosh shoots during the second half of Friday’s Pac-12 Tournament semifinal in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Oregon’s Paul White (13) covers Southern California’s Shaqquan Aaron as he passes behind his back and hits Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, right, in the face during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Oregon’s Paul White (13) covers Southern California’s Shaqquan Aaron as he passes behind his back and hits Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, right, in the face during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Nick Rakocevic (L) #31 and Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans hug on the bench late in their semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Nick Rakocevic (L) #31 and Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans hug on the bench late in their semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trojans won 74-54. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic (31) reacts to a call while on the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

    Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic (31) reacts to a call while on the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men’s tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. USC won 74-54. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

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LAS VEGAS — USC pieced together one of its most convincing wins of the season and advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament final.

The Trojans routed Oregon 74-54 behind a career night from their shooting guard and a stifling defense.

Sophomore Jonah Mathews scored a career-high 27 points and buried seven of nine 3-point attempts Friday night. They also held the Ducks to their lowest scoring total this season.

The win put the second-seeded Trojans in the conference tournament title game for the first time since 2009, where they will face top seed Arizona at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Throughout their semifinal win over the sixth-seeded Ducks, already the deepest the Trojans had advanced since 2011, Mathews helped carry them, along with senior guard Elijah Stewart, who added 15 points and made three of six 3-point attempts.

“When they’re knocking down shots, our team is at full effect,” senior guard Jordan McLaughlin said.

The tandem combined for more than half of USC’s points and opened with 18 of their first 20 to start the game.

Throughout this season, coaches had reminded Mathews and Stewart that the streaky shooters had rarely been able to score as much in the same game.

“It’s been the running joke that me and him never really play well on the same nights,” Stewart said, “but tonight, it was incredible.”

Oregon often left Mathews open in the corner of the 3-point arc, preferring to double-team forward Chimezie Metu in the low post. Mathews took advantage.

The scoring effort helped ease the burden off McLaughlin and Metu, the Trojans’ top two scorers who led the way in the quarterfinals against Oregon State.

“We all got to step up in our own way,” Mathews said, “and I’m just trying to get to it. It’s March Madness.”

It was a point repeated before tip-off. Not only did McLaughlin and Metu need help elsewhere on the court, but the Trojans were further limited to a seven-man rotation, as backup point guard Derryck Thornton missed a second consecutive game because of an upper respiratory infection.

With more scoring needed, Stewart said his teammates screamed at him before the game, urging him to put up points, too.

“They were like, ‘you’re a senior, we need you to go out and score and be aggressive,’” Stewart said.

USC (23-10) led by as many as 28 in the second half, before Oregon (22-12) whittled it to 14 with 6½ minutes left. The Trojans turned the ball over 20 times, including an uncharacteristic 10 by McLaughlin, as they were swarmed by a full-court press midway through the second half. At one point, they turned it over on three straight possessions. Some passes went out of bounds. The Ducks stole others. It made little difference.

For a second consecutive game, the Trojans held an opponent below one point per possession.

“Our defense once again carried us,” Coach Andy Enfield said.

The Ducks, playing their third game in as many nights, finished with 0.78 points per possession. A night earlier, the Trojans limited Oregon State to 0.77. They are USC’s best defensive performances since a nonconference win over Akron at the Diamond Head Classic in December.

“It’s been up to us to lock down on defense,” Metu said.

It was a point repeated and emphasized by Enfield too. After seemingly every basket Friday night, Enfield hollered at his players, urging them to retreat faster to the other end of the court and set up their zone defense.

“He’s preaching it a lot,” McLaughlin said. “As soon as we score, they’re pushing the ball back down, so we got to get back on defense. When we score, we got to act like we’ve been there before.”

At one point in the first half Friday, USC kept the Ducks scoreless for nearly six minutes. One stretch in the second half saw Oregon miss 15 consecutive shots. The Ducks ultimately made just 33 percent of their shots.

USC forced 14 turnovers, too, knocking loose 10 steals.

“We use our length in the zone,” Mathews said. “It helps us get steals and get out to easy run-outs. Be in the right place at the right time. Anticipate.”

The Trojans, bolstered by their sixth win in seven games, appear increasingly likely to reach the NCAA Tournament, but they could end any concern and grab the automatic berth that goes to Saturday’s winner.

“Our goal was to compete for a Pac-12 championship, and here we are,” Enfield said.

Peep the highlights of the win that sent us to our first conference championship game since 2009! #ItTakesATeam pic.twitter.com/15lNPYOPJi

— USC Men’s Basketball (@USC_Hoops) March 10, 2018

On to the #Pac12Hoops Tournament finals! @USC_Hoops tops Oregon 74-54 to advance.

They will face Arizona Saturday at 7:00 PT/8:00 MT https://t.co/xVpuaKEHar

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 10, 2018

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Wolf: It’s time for USC coach Andy Enfield to address scandal

Notes and observations about USC as basketball finds way to overshadow football …

LOS ANGELES — At what point will USC basketball coach Andy Enfield make a statement about the scandal engulfing his program? His assistant coach, Tony Bland, is on administrative leave and two players could be ineligible after prosecutors alleged their families took money from a former sports agent.

Enfield often comes across as a smiling innocent but I’ve spoken to several college coaches who find it inconceivable a head coach would be unaware of what his assistant is doing, especially when he is having lunch with a former agent near the Galen Center.

It would seem logical for the coach to address the controversy in some manner.

The USC basketball program is effectively being held hostage with an internal investigation now joining the FBI’s extensive case against the program. Bland could potentially turn in others in an attempt to strike a deal with prosecutors. One can only guess how much damage Bland could do the program if he talks.

>> This is also the first test for Athletic Director Lynn Swann. Considering Swann has already expressed displeasure around USC over the football team’s play despite its 4-0 start, it’s not hard to imagine him being upset with Enfield for far more serious problems.

Swann spoke to a class at USC on Wednesday night.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and I will act when I smell smoke,” Swann said, according to the Daily Trojan. “I’m not interested in waiting until there’s a fire. Had we had any indication that something was wrong in any of our departments, we would have taken action sooner.”

>> USC basketball has not always been accused of taking bribes.

In 1951, USC forward Ken Flower was offered $1,500 to fix a game by a stranger in a Los Angeles hotel where the Trojans stayed before playing UCLA. Flower immediately told USC assistant coach Al Conti and eventually the police were contacted. A sting was set up and ex-con Albert R. Scroggins was arrested at the hotel. Flower ended up playing that night.

USC basketball coach Forrest Twogood’s brother-in-law, Torrance W. Stockman, who contacted the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for Twogood, had a heart attack after the game.

>> Back to football. USC tight ends coach John Baxter said he was “shocked” by Cary Angeline’s decision to transfer.

“I still have not talked to him,” Baxter said.

Now that is the shocking part. When you have a dynamic tight end, you do everything you can to keep him. And play him once in awhile.

>> A former USC lineman emailed after the Cal game: “It drives me nuts seeing our (linemen) smiling and laughing on the sidelines after how they’ve been playing,”

>> Colin Cowherd strikes again. The talk-show host predicted USC will lose at Washington State and tried to blame it on the basketball scandal. “This NCAA basketball probe … a little bit of distraction at USC,” Cowherd said.

This is clearly someone who has zero familiarity with a major athletic program. USC football players are not worried about the basketball program. They are thinking about Washington State.

Think back to the Pete Carroll teams who played during the NCAA’s investigation into Reggie Bush. They weren’t focused on that. They were focused on winning. And playing in the NFL. Athletes exist in their own bubble. Apparently so do ridiculous radio hosts.

>> My game prediction: This game looks like a perfect upset special. Washington State is the first passing team USC’s defense has faced this season. The Trojans’ receiving corps is depleted. It’s the second road game in six days.

I’m tempted to select Washington State, until I look at their schedule (Montana State, Boise State, Oregon State, Nevada). And even if USC has injuries, aren’t its reserves still more highly rated by all the recruiting services than Washington State’s starters?

Unless the Trojans’ secondary falls apart (and it might), I think form holds. I’m taking USC, 45-37.

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