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Thursday, May 13, 2021

USC’s Pac-12 title hopes end with Oregon’s victory at Oregon State

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Southern California guard Tahj Eaddy, left, shoots and makes a game-winning three-point shot.

USC’s Tahj Eaddy hits a game-winning three-pointer over UCLA’s Jaylen Clark on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

USC’s wait for a conference championship in men’s basketball continues.

The Trojans, who finished the regular season Saturday with a dramatic 64-63 victory over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, needed Oregon State to defeat Oregon on Sunday to claim the Pac-12 title.

But the Ducks defeated the Beavers 80-67 in Corvallis and won the Pac-12 with a 14-4 record, besting the Trojans’ 15-5 mark by percentage points (.778 to .750.) USC shared the Pac-10 title in the 1984-85 season. The Trojans’ last outright championship came in the 1960-61 season.

Oregon (19-5 overall) and USC (21-6) each experienced postponements this season because of COVID-19 protocols and the Ducks ended up playing two fewer conference games.

The teams met once, on Feb. 22 at Galen Center. USC scored the game’s first 15 points and won 72-58. The teams could meet again Saturday if they advance to the final of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.

The tournament starts Wednesday with three games: No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 9 Washington State at 1 p.m., No. 7 Utah vs. No. 10 Washington at 4 p.m., No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 California at 7 p.m.

Oregon will play Thursday at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the Arizona State-Washington State game.

The second-seeded Trojans will play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Utah-Washington.

UCLA (17-8, 13-6) finished fourth in the Pac-12 and will play fifth-seeded Oregon State on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The Beavers were sixth in the conference, but moved up a spot for the tournament because Arizona is ineligible. The Wildcats, under investigation for possible NCAA violations, self-imposed a one-year postseason ban.

The Bruins have lost three in row, none more agonizing than the one Saturday against the Trojans. UCLA never trailed in the game until Tahj Eaddy made a three-point shot with 1.4 seconds left.

Colorado is the third seed and plays at 8:30 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Stanford-California.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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