USC will have a shot at an automatic bid come Saturday. The Trojans defeated the Oregon Ducks 74-54 Friday night to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament finals to face Arizona.
USC was striking on all cylinders from beyond the arc in huge part of sophomore guard Jonah Matthews and senior guard Elijah Stewart. The Trojans took a 14 point lead into the half and led by as much as 28 in the ball game. Oregon trimed the lead by as much as 14 points, however Jonah Matthews put the game away with a few more threes. This game was also USC’s best defensive display in quite some time as the Trojans 2-3 zone forced Oregon to shoot 33.3% from the field. With the win USC has defeated the Oregon schools 3 straight times. Matthews led all scorers with 27 points in the game.
The Trojans will have a shot at an automatic bid as the face the Arizona Wildcats, who defeated UCLA in an overtime thriller earlier in the day. Arizona and USC have only met once this season. Their last meeting saw the Wildcats defeat the Trojans in Tucson 81-67. This will also be the second time the Trojans have met Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament finals. Back in 2002 Arizona defeated USC 81-71 to take the then Pac-10 tournament title with current Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton taking MVP honors.
This will also be the Trojans first tournament finals appearance since 2009 when USC led by DeMar Derozan erased a huge double digit lead to defeat James Harden and the Arizona State Sun Devils to claim their first Pac-10 Tournament title.
Tonight’s win may have also secured the Trojans into the NCAA Tournament. As stated before the Pac-12 Tournament two wins might do enough to get USC into the big dance, but the Trojans can make things easier by defeating Arizona and claiming an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament as well as possibly improving their seeding as they do it.
The game will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tipoff is at 7 PM PT. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas, the game will air on FS1.