LAS VEGAS — The matchup college basketball purists have been quietly dreading all season will be a reality.

USC knocked off Oregon 74-54 late Friday night in the second semifinal at the Pac-12 Conference tournament, setting up a championship game match against top-seeded and 15th-ranked Arizona on Saturday night (8 p.m. MT, FS1).

Both programs made tabloid-like headlines at the beginning of the preseason as two of the four schools that had assistant coaches arrested in the opening salvo of the FBI college basketball corruption probe that has hovered over the teams all season. Now Arizona will be playing in its fourth Pac-12 title game in five years, while USC seeks its first conference tournament championship since 2009.

The Trojans never trailed after the game's opening few minutes, racing to a 37-23 halftime lead and burying the Ducks with a 16-2 run to open the second half.

USC received a stellar showing from sophomore guard Jonah Mathews, who connected on a career-best seven 3-pointers before finishing with a career-high 27 points. Mathews went 8-for-10 overall and 7-for-9 on 3-pointers.

Elijah Stewart scored 15 points for USC and the Trojans' two first team all-league selections, Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu, narrowly missed double-doubles. McLaughlin scored nine points with nine assists, while Metu recorded 10 points and nine rebounds.

MiKyle McIntosh led Oregon with 21 points. The Ducks struggled to an 8-for-30 mark on 3-pointers.


Advertisement

USC lost its only regular-season matchup against the Wildcats, suffering an 81-67 loss on Feb. 10 at Arizona. It will be the fifth straight year the league's top two seeds will play in the title game.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07

USC 74, Oregon 54

At T-Mobile Arena

OREGON (22-12)

T. Brown 4-13 2-2 11, White 0-3 2-2 2, McIntosh 9-17 1-1 21, Pritchard 1-11 1-2 4, E. Brown 6-11 0-1 16, Wooten 0-0 0-2 0, Bailey 0-5 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Kigab 0-0 0-0 0, Sorkin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-60 6-10 54.

USC (23-10)

Metu 4-6 2-2 10, Rakocevic 3-5 1-2 7, Mathews 8-10 4-4 27, Stewart 5-10 2-3 15, McLaughlin 3-13 3-3 9, Aaron 2-5 0-0 4, Usher 0-2 0-0 0, Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, O'Bannon 1-1 0-0 2, Karis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 12-14 74.

Oregon 23 31 — 54
USC 37 37 — 74

3-point field goals — Oregon 8-30 (T. Brown 1-4, White 0-1, McIntosh 2-6, Pritchard 1-6, E. Brown 4-9, Bailey 0-4); USC 10-23 (Metu 0-1, Mathews 7-9, McLaughlin 0-5, Stewart 3-6, Aaron 0-1, Usher 0-1). Rebounds — Oregon 25 (T. Brown, E. Brown 5); USC 41 (Rakocevic 11). Assists — Oregon 11 (Pritchard 7); USC 16 (McLaughlin 9). Total fouls — Oregon 16; USC 13.