It was a closer game than USC fans would have expected but the Trojans still win the nail-biter 67-62 over the UC Riverside Highlanders.
The Trojans (9-2) played the first half like they hadn't adjusted back to their Pacific Time Zone just yet. As a team they only made 11-of-32 shots (34.4%) from the field. Isaiah Mobley carried the scoring load by going 6-of-12 for 14 points and six rebounds. His brother Evan struggled to get going, only making two of his six attempts for four points.
UC Riverside (4-3) did a solid job of making the Trojans work for everything in the paint and not allowing open shooters on the perimeter. Slowing down a player as talented as Evan Mobley takes a full team effort. Whenever he was driving the ball, he would see multiple bodies in the paint - and never had any breathing room to get clean shots off.
When the Highlanders got an open look from distance, they didn’t waste the opportunity. They knocked down 6-of-13 threes as a team to give themself a narrow five-point lead heading into the half.
But they couldn’t keep the hot shooting going. The Highlanders only made 36.4% of their shots from the floor, while hitting just one three-pointer in the second half.
Evan Mobley on the other hand started cooking on both ends. He went perfect on his four shot attempts for 10 points and swatted five shots, including UC Riverside’s last attempt to win the game and send it into overtime.
The Highlanders just needed to win the next five minutes to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the season. But Evan Mobley and Drew Peterson were having none of it. They scored all 14 of the Trojans overtime points by going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
After the win, coach Andy Enfield had high praise for UC Riverside’s competitiveness.
“They banked threes in and made some shots where the ball bounced high on the rim and bounced in. So give them credit. They made some really tough shots over Evan and from the three-point line.”
Speaking of Evan Mobley, this was his third straight game with at least 19 points and 11 rebounds. What was even more impressive was his six blocked shots for the second consecutive game.
Isaiah Mobley finished his night with a double-double as well (16 points, 11 rebounds), while Drew Peterson was close, only finishing two rebounds shy of the feat (12 points, 8 rebounds).
The Trojans will look to gain their fifth straight win when they take on the Washington Huskies on Thursday.
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