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The Sports Report: USC routs UC Irvine

Southern California's Evan Mobley, left, shoots over BYU's Kolby Lee in the first half.
Evan Mobley, left, shoots over BYU’s Kolby Lee during a game earlier this season.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Jack Harris on USC men’s basketball: Noah Baumann tilted to one side and tracked his shot as it sailed toward the hoop.

For a moment, the USC guard almost looked unsure about his three-point release. But then he straightened his body and began to backpedal.

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The shot was perfect. The ball splashed through the center of the net.

Baumann had his first true breakout performance for the Trojans in their 91-56 win over UC Irvine on Tuesday night at Galen Center. He hit all four of his first-half three-point attempts en route to a season-high 18 points. He played with intensity on the defensive end, racking up 25 minutes on the floor in his first start of the season.

And a year after transferring from San Jose State, he finally looked like the dynamic perimeter option coach Andy Enfield hoped he was getting in the 6-foot-6, 215-pound sharpshooter.

“I worked my tail off during my redshirt year,” said Baumann, who sat out last season per NCAA rules. “I’ve been working my tail off during the summer. ... I’m trying to bring that intensity, showing what I can do for this basketball team.”

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Once among the nation’s leading three-point shooters at San Jose State, Baumann struggled in this season’s first four games, averaging only four points, and made just two of nine attempts from long range.

“He’s an elite shooter,” Enfield said. “He’s much better than that.”

On Tuesday, that old skill set returned. Baumann hit one trey from the top of the arc after sprinting around a screen. He drilled another in transition on a catch-and-shoot release from the right elbow. His fourth straight make — the one he closely watched from the left wing — was the result of a smooth give-and-go passing sequence out of the post.

Matched with Evan Mobley’s team-leading 22-point, 11-rebound performance and 12-for-24 three-point shooting as a team, Baumann’s effort helped lift USC to its fourth win in five games.

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USC can’t afford a second-half offensive lull against UCLA

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UCLA

Ben Bolch on UCLA: Something historic was afoot Tuesday morning as Martin Jarmond strolled across UCLA’s campus. The Bruins athletic director headed toward the football practice facility to make a major announcement, providing a giveaway with his sneakers.

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They were Jordans.

UCLA had agreed in principle to a six-year partnership with Jordan Brand and Nike to replace Under Armour in its first major coup under Jarmond, providing a swag factor and potential recruiting boost that the school never enjoyed with its previous apparel sponsor.

The response from players was predictable given the brands’ broad appeal.

“Wooooo, we got Jordan Brand!” cornerback Jay Shaw said, recalling the reaction among the football team. “Wooooo!”

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The Bruins trumpeted the contract set to begin July 1 with a tweet showing the Jumpman logo superimposed on the middle of their football practice field as well as the Pauley Pavilion scoreboard and a pair of football gloves. The school also released a video narrated by basketball alumni Russell Westbrook and Jordin Canada ending with a shot of Jarmond wearing a Jumpman T-shirt.

“Elite is in our DNA,” Jarmond says in the video, “and it’s time to join the Nike and Jordan family.”

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Pandemic creates different kind of ‘Beat SC’ week for Bruins

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LAKERS

Dan Woike on the Lakers: The Lakers are scheduled to open their preseason Friday against the Clippers. That much we know.

Everything else about the Lakers, and for that matter, every team trying to play during this pandemic, is cloaked in maybes.

Coach Frank Vogel said LeBron James and Anthony Davis, his stars, were not likely to play in preseason game No. 1, but knowing who else might be on the court or how long they’ll be there is still very much up in the air.

“That’s tough to say, where we’re going to be at on Friday,” Vogel said Tuesday on a videoconference. “But we’ve had the same group today we had for the first two days of practice. We’ll have to see where everything is at on Friday in terms of knowing how many players we’re going to have.”

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JURISPRUDENCE

Nathan Fenno on a lawsuit against the NCAA: Isiah “Butch” Robertson, the hard-hitting All-Pro linebacker who starred for the Rams in the 1970s, had an advanced case of a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain trauma, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of his family.

The lawsuit against the NCAA said Robertson was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after he died in a car accident in December 2018 at age 69. According to the suit, he had Stage 3 of the disease, with Stage 4 being the most serious.

“Later in life, Isiah’s mental and physical health began to deteriorate,” the 14-page complaint said. “Isiah began to experience sleep disturbances, headaches, outbursts, loss of ability to control his emotions, trouble recalling information, anger management issues, reckless behavior, and a lack of a filter when speaking.”

According to the lawsuit, Robertson “sustained numerous brain injuries” while playing at Southern University in Louisiana from 1967 to 1970 without “adequate concussion management protocols or policies in place to address and treat brain injuries sustained by Isiah and others during practices and in games.”

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The lawsuit, which doesn’t name the school as a defendant, accuses the NCAA of not educating football players about brain injuries and not implementing various rules to protect those who suffered concussions.

“As a direct and proximate result of the NCAA’s conduct, Isaiah sustained serious injuries and death,” the complaint said.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

For the third straight week, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State held on to the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The selection committee’s second-from-last rankings had only a little movement in the top 10. Texas A&M is still fifth and Florida held at sixth.

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Iowa State moved up a couple of spots to seventh after earning a spot in the Big 12 title game. Cincinnati slipped a spot to eighth after an idle week because of COVID-19 issues in the program.

The Bearcats also will not play this week against Tulsa, the committee’s 24th-ranked team. Those two schools are scheduled to meet Dec. 19 in the American Athletic Conference title game.

Coastal Carolina, coming off a big victory against BYU, jumped five spots to No. 13.

1. Alabama
2. Notre Dame
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
6. Florida
7. Iowa State
8. Cincinnati
9. Georgia
10. Miami (FL)
11. Oklahoma
12. Indiana
13. Coastal Carolina
14. Northwestern
15. USC
16. Iowa
17. North Carolina
18. Brigham Young
19. Louisiana Lafayette
20. Texas
21. Colorado
22. Oklahoma State
23. North Carolina State
24. Tulsa
25. Missouri

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1934 — The New York Giants wins the NFL championship by beating the Chicago Bears 30-13 in the famous “Sneakers Game.” With the temperature at 9 degrees and the Polo Grounds field a sheet of ice, the Giants open the second half wearing basketball shoes and score 27 points in the final period to overcome a 13-3 Chicago lead.

1949 — The All-America Conference merges with the National Football League. Three teams from the AAFC — the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts — join the 10-team NFL. The league is called the National-American Football League, but months later the National Football League name is restored.

1973 — Jim Bakken of the St. Louis Cardinals kicks six field goals in a 32-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

1977 — Moses Malone leads the Houston Rockets to a 116-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a game marred by a one-punch knockout of Rockets’ forward Rudy Tomjanovich. Los Angeles forward Kermit Washington and Rockets’ center Kevin Kunnert go at it at center court. Lakers’ center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar jumps in and grabs Kunnert. Tomjanovich rushes to aid Kunnert and Washington turns around and throws a right-hand punch to Tomjanovich’s face that knocks him to the floor, leaving him in a pool of blood.

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1982 — The Kings snap Wayne Gretzky’s NHL-record 30-game point streak. Rookie goaltender Gary Laskoski makes 32 saves to lead the Kings to 3-3 tie with the Edmonton Oilers.

1995 — Eddie George, who led the nation with 24 touchdowns and rushed for an Ohio State-record 1,826 yards, wins the Heisman Trophy by a wide margin over Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier and Florida’s Danny Wuerffel.

2000 — Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith rushes for a season-high 150 yards, putting him over 1,000 for a record-tying 10th straight season and joins Walter Payton and Barry Sanders as the only players in NFL history with 15,000 career yards.

2001 — Bode Miller becomes the first American since 1983 to win a World Cup giant slalom race. Miller, third after the opening leg, has an excellent second run to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 36.02 seconds in Val D’Isere, France.

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2007 — Tom Brady throws four touchdown passes and the New England Patriots stay unbeaten with a 34-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots are the fifth team with a 13-0 record, joining the 1934 Chicago Bears, 1972 Miami Dolphins, 1998 Denver Broncos and 2005 Indianapolis Colts.

2009 — Cassidy Schaub rolls consecutive 300 games and sets a Professional Bowlers Association 16-game scoring record, averaging 257.25 to retain the second-round lead in the Pepsi Red, White and Blue Open. Schaub had a 16-game total of 4,116 pins to erase the PBA record of 4,095 set by John Mazza in Las Vegas in 1996.

2016 — Russia’s sports reputation is ripped apart again when a new report into systematic doping details a vast “institutional conspiracy” that covers more than 1,000 athletes in over 30 sports and a corrupted drug-testing system at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics.

2017 — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield wins the Heisman Trophy, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football.

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2017 — Jozy Altidore opens the scoring in the 67th minute and Toronto FC beats the Seattle Sounders 2-0 in the MLS Cup to become the first Canadian champion in league history.

And finally

Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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