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USC, Mobley brothers hand Kansas its worst-ever NCAA tournament loss

Jason Owens
·2-min read

USC entered the NCAA tournament boasting the Pac-12's most efficient defense.

When it brought an offense to match, Kansas didn't stand a chance.

No. 6 seed USC smothered No. 3 seed Kansas on both sides of the floor Monday, handing the Jayhawks their worst-ever NCAA tournament loss, 85-51. Their previous worst effort was a 60-42 loss to Indiana in the 1940 national title game.

Pac-12 keeps rolling

The win caps a dominant weekend for the Pac-12, which sends four of its five entrants in the tournament to the Sweet 16. USC joins UCLA, Oregon and Oregon State in the tournament's second weekend. Only Colorado, which lost to Florida State on Monday, was eliminated.

USC forward Evan Mobley (4) drives on Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) during the first half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Evan Mobley looked every bit the part of an NBA lottery pick against Kansas. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Kansas didn't stand a chance

USC punched Kansas out of the gate en route to a 40-21 halftime lead. It kept its foot on the gas in the second half of a game where Kansas did not compete. The Trojans were powered by the Mobley brothers who put on a clinic on both sides of the floor.

Freshman center Evan Mobley, a projected NBA lottery pick who swept the Pac-12's individual awards, was a force in the post with 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. He added five assists.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley led the scoring effort with 17 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists. He paced a red-hot shooting effort, hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers.

The Trojans shot lights-out from the field, connecting on 57.1% of their field goals. They were even better from deep, hitting 11-of-18 (61.1%) attempts. And their defense was arguably better.

USC stymied Kansas offense

USC held Kansas to a 29% shooting clip from the field. Marcus Garrett, with 15 points, was the only Jayhawk to score in double figures.

All Big-12 forward David McCormack rejoined the starting lineup Monday after posting 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench in his return from a bout with COVID-19 in Saturday's opening round win over Eastern Washington. He was a non-factor in 22 minutes with five points and four rebounds.

Jalen Wilson returned to the lineup in a limited role while Tristan Enaruna remained sidelined by the same round of COVID-19 that forced Kansas out of last week's Big 12 tournament. But it's hard to imagine Kansas at full force standing a chance on Monday. USC was simply in another league.

The win sets up a Pac-12 showdown with Oregon in next weekend's Sweet 16, ensuring that the conference's stellar run will continue with at least one team in the Elite Eight.

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