INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Southern California coach Andy Enfield is taking another program back to the Sweet 16.
Chevez Goodwin #1 of the USC Trojans dunks the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half of their second round game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 22, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The only surprise about this one? How handily his Trojans took apart No. 3 seed Kansas.
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Isaiah Mobley hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points, All-American big brother Evan added 10 points and 13 rebounds, and sixth-seeded USC rolled to an 85-51 victory Monday night inside Hinkle Fieldhouse — more than doubling the worst margin of defeat for the Jayhawks in 49 trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Isaiah White added 13 points and Tahj Eaddy had 12 for the Trojans (24-7), who kept the Pac-12′s charmed tourney going by reaching their fourth Sweet 16. They’ll face conference rival Oregon next weekend.
Enfield, who took No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the second weekend in 2013, had plenty of time to enjoy this one. The Trojans built a 29-21 lead, went on an 11-0 run to finish the first half, then coasted over the final 20 minutes.
USC finished 11 of 18 from beyond the arc, shot 57.1% from the field and nearly doubled up the Jayhawks on the glass.
Marcus Garrett had 15 points for Kansas (21-9), which had never lost an NCAA tourney game by more than 16 points.
One of college basketball’s tradition-rich programs, the Jayhawks had played nearly 3,200 games without ever setting foot on the floor of Hinkle Fieldhouse — the iconic hoops cathedral made famous by the Hollywood film “Hoosiers.”
The way they looked Monday night, it was probably by design.
The Jayhawks missed their first eight shots, most of them wide open looks. And after Christian Braun finally hit a 3-pointer, they missed three more. Throw in a couple turnovers, and they were headed for a point total straight out of the 1940s.
At the other end, the Trojans looked like they were in a pregame layup line the way Kansas kept breaking down on D.
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On a sequence that perfectly summed up the first half, Braun — an 81% free-throw shooter — missed two, and Isaiah Mobley followed with a deep 3-pointer as the shot-clock expired. As the teams headed the other way again, Kansas coach Bill Self crossed his legs and reclined in his folding chair — the very picture of frustration and resignation.
Mobley’s four first-half 3s, doubling his career best for an entire game, staked the Trojans to a 40-21 lead at the break.
The reaction from former All-American guard Frank Mason III, now in the G League: “Tell Coach Self I’m headed to the game,” he tweeted at halftime. “I’ll be there by the 10 min mark; ready to sub in on arrival.”
Wilt Chamberlain wouldn’t have made a difference on this night.
Kansas trimmed its deficit to 16 early in the second half, but Enfield immediately called timeout and the momentum was over. White hit a trio of 3-pointers in a span of about three minutes, and Drew Peterson also knocked one down as the Trojans again stretched their lead stretched beyond 20 and effectively put the game away.
Southern California continued a banner tournament for the Pac-12, which is now 9-1 with four of its five teams reaching the Sweet 16. The only team to lose is Colorado, which beat the Trojans in the conference tournament.
Kansas hoped the return of Jalen Wilson, who flew into Indianapolis earlier in the day, from his COVID-19 quarantine would provide a spark. But the Jayhawks’ leading rebounder was just as ineffective as everyone else against the Trojans’ big front line. Kansas wound up getting beaten 43-27 on the boards.
The Trojans play seventh-seeded Oregon, which cruised past No. 2 seed Iowa earlier in the day, in a Pac-12 showdown for a spot in the West Region finals. USC beat the Ducks in February in their only meeting this season.
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