Third time's the charm for Andy Enfield's squad.
In the first game at Maples Pavilion in 338 days, the USC Trojans (14-3) fought and clawed their way to a comeback victory over the Stanford Cardinal (10-7) on Tuesday night. This was the first meeting between the two programs after the previous two scheduled games were cancelled due to COVID-19 issues.
Evan Mobley led all scorers with 23 points while grabbing 10 rebounds to notch his 8th double-double of the season.
The game was dead-locked at 66 a piece with 1:18 remaining until guard Tahj Eaddy took over. The senior converted a nifty lay-up on a pick-and-roll to give USC a two-point lead. Then on the following USC possession, Eaddy found the bottom of the net on a tough turnaround jumper with 29 seconds on the clock to give USC the 70-66 lead, which ultimately gave the Trojans their 14th win of the season.
Eaddy finished with 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting, as he glowed with confidence the entire contest. "[I was] just trying to make plays. Just trying to win games for my team," Eaddy explained after hitting the dagger to give the Trojans their 9th win in 10 games.
The Trojans trailed for most of the contest in the first half, but when they needed their defense to stiffen and get stops, this elite USC team did just that. Stanford only scored five points in the final five minutes of regulation, and two points in the last four minutes.
"I thought our players played great offensively and got good shots and our defense got some key stops when we needed it. I'm very proud of our guys, who I thought played with great effort throughout," Enfield said in the post game presser.
With 4:39 remaining, Max Agbonkpolo used his active hands to get a steal and fast break dunk to give USC their first lead since the 17:11 mark at the start of the 2nd half. Following a Stanford timeout, the Cardinal would respond and hit a three to regain the lead with 4:08 to go, but Enfield's team stayed poised.
Mobley then hit a beautiful jumper to tie the game back up less than a minute later, which was then followed by Drew Peterson's floater to give the Trojans the lead back late. Peterson netted 15 points, with 12 coming in the second half, while Mobley had another efficient night, hitting 8-of-his-13 shot attempts.
USC's offense struggled again from the three-point arc, hitting only four triples on 17 attempts, but came alive after Isaiah Mobley posterized Stanford big man Lukas Kisunas on a beautiful dime from Peterson. Then his brother Evan would throw down the hammer with authority on the following possession to help the Trojans score 21 points in the final eight minutes.
The Cardinal only had two players score in double-figures, as Jaiden Delaire finished with 22 points while Michael O'Connell contributed 20. The Mobley brothers did a great job suffocating Stanford's best player Oscar De Silva, as he failed to reach at least 10 points for the first time all season.
"We're a better basketball team than we were a few weeks ago," Enfield said following the comeback. "To win 9-out-of-10 after missing several games due to COVID is very impressive."
USC is currently second place in the Pac-12, sitting behind crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans will have a chance to dethrone the Bruins of first place on Saturday when the two Los Angeles schools meet for their first matchup of the season at 7:00 p.m.
You may also like:
Be sure to stay locked into AllTrojans all the time!
For more USC news visit www.alltrojans.com.