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USC knocks off Oregon State 61-48 in Pac-12 quarterfinals

Oregon State's Ethan Thompson, left, passes the while while defended by Southern California's Jordan Usher in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday. 

Isaac Brekken, The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Chimezie Metu had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Southern California smothered Oregon State defensively to beat the Beavers 61-48 in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night.

Second-seeded USC (22-10) jumped on Oregon State early and hounded the Beavers all night, holding them to 31-percent shooting.

Jordan McLaughlin had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Trojans, who move on to face the Oregon-Utah winner in Friday’s semifinals.

Oregon State (16-16) played a tough game in the opening round and was no match for USC’s early energy. Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 12 points for the Beavers, who shot 5 of 20 from the 3-point arc.

USC played its way to the edge of the NCAA Tournament bubble with four straight wins, but a season-ending loss to rival UCLA made its margin for error slimmer. A loss to Oregon State, the Pac-12’s No. 10 seed, would make it narrower still.

The Trojans swept the regular-season series, winning by seven in Corvallis and 13 at home.

The Beavers reached the quarterfinals by spoiling Washington’s NCAA Tournament hopes and were hoping to do the same against USC.

USC got off to a fast start, hitting six of its first eight shots to go up 16-5. The Beavers chipped the lead down to four, but struggled to find room for good looks against the Trojans’ physical defense. USC held Oregon State to 8-of-28 shooting to lead 29-19 at halftime.

Oregon State cut the lead to 41-35 midway through the second half, but USC scored the next nine points to go up 50-35.


Arizona was not particularly crisp on offense and big man Deandre Ayton missed shots that normally fall for him.

None of it slowed the Wildcats on their way to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

Scrappy and suffocating on defense, No. 15 Arizona rolled over Colorado 83-67 on Thursday in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.

“I really liked our defense, especially in the second half,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “We had plenty of transition opportunities because of our defense and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Ayton missed numerous shots near the rim, fouling out after scoring 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. The Wildcats (25-7) were disjointed at times on offense, unable to find seams in Colorado’s zone defense.

But Arizona was superb on defense most of the day, though, holding Colorado to 5-of-20 shooting from 3-point range and nabbing 11 steals, including four by Rawle Alkins.


Aaron Holiday saw the lane open and took it — over and over.

Darting and dashing his way through Stanford’s defense, Holiday matched a career high with 34 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds in UCLA’s 88-77 victory over Cardinal in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.

“I just tried to see the way they were playing me,” Holiday said. “Paint was open a lot, so I just tried to get in there and make plays. So if I can get in there, jump stop and find somebody and just shoot, it’s going to do well for our team.”

UCLA (21-10) got off to a fast start, withstood a late first-half run and held the Cardinal at arm’s length in the second half.


The Oregon-Utah game was in progress at press time.

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