USC basketball returns to action by trouncing Santa Clara

USC basketball Evan Mobley. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
USC basketball Evan Mobley. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

USC basketball was back and better than ever with a win over Santa Clara

The three weeks USC basketball spent with activities paused because of COVID-19 didn’t leave the Trojans with much rust, as it turns out.

USC returned to the Galen Center on Tuesday night with an impressive victory over Santa Clara, 86-63.

The Trojans improved to 5-1 in 2020 as a result.

The lowdown: Isaiah Mobley put USC on the board first and doubled up with the second basket of the night as the Trojans took control early. Even though Santa Clara tied things up at 6-6, a surge from Evan Mobley and Tahj Eady and Evan Mobley pushed USC out to a 10 point lead before five minutes were up.

The Trojans didn’t let up either. An Evan Mobley free-throw expanded USC’s lead to 18 at one point in the first half. At the break, the score was 41-27 in favor of the cardinal and gold.

Any worries that USC wouldn’t be able to continue their strong performance in the second half were quickly put to bed. Isaiah White opened the second period with a dunk before Isaiah Mobley hit a fast break three. The gap was 24 by the time Mobley hooked a shot in.

The storyline of the second half quickly moved away from the Trojans’ ability to hold on to focusing on some new faces for the team. Freshman Reese Waters came in and dropped in a three-pointer for his first contribution to USC. A three-pointer from transfer Amar Ross had the Trojans on their feet late as well.

The game ended 86-63.

The takeaway: USC started hot and never let up, shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arch. They outrebounded Santa Clara and proved their dominance under the basket by scoring 44 points in the paint.

Evan Mobley led the way with 17 points, hitting 6-of-7 shot attempts, seven rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

Isaiah Mobley wasn’t too far behind his little brother. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Eaddy was the other top scorer with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists.

With Ethan Anderson still sidelined, the Trojans got a huge contribution from Drew Peterson. He was just 2-for-11 with seven points, but his poor shooting night was made up for with nine assists and a steal.

On defense, the Trojans kept Santa Clara from doing much damage. The Broncos were 38.3 percent from the field and hit just 2-of-17 three-point attempts. USC forced 19 turnovers.

Player of the game: Evan Mobley, whose presence on both sides of the ball remains huge for USC.

State of the game: USC led for 39 minutes and eight seconds.

Next up: The Trojans are scheduled to open conference play against Colorado on Thursday night.

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