Cold USC Relies On Mobleys To Take Over

Mobley brothers jolt USC awake from sluggish start in win over Washington. USC’s 10-2 start in conference play is its best since 1992 when the Trojans went 15-3 in the Pac-10.

Isaiah Mobley drives around Husky guard Jamal Bey during the first half of the Trojans’ 69-54 win Thursday in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren /AP) 

But for 15 minutes, as they traded baskets and bricks with the cellar-dwelling Washington Huskies early Thursday night, it seemed the Trojans might not get much time to jog their memories.

Then, Evan Mobley found his brother, Isaiah, on the baseline for a thunderous, one-handed slam, and the first-place Trojans were thrust into gear again, on their way to an 69-54 victory over Washington.

“Winning in this league is hard,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “Especially on the road.”

For a while, No. 20 USC (16-3, 10-2 Pac-12) seemed primed for a letdown. It had lost six of its previous seven games in Seattle. It was coming off a statement-making victory over UCLA last Saturday.

And then, USC came out cold from the perimeter. For an entire half, the Trojans didn’t make a single three-pointer.

But it didn’t matter Thursday, not against Washington at least, not as USC dominated the boards and commanded the paint and erased any hope for the Huskies (3-15, 2-11) beyond the arc. What started as a back-and-forth slog saw USC surge to an 18-4 run before halftime, the switch finally flipped.

Those efforts started inside with Evan Mobley swatting anything in his path, while Isaiah Mobley worked the post with authority on offense. The star freshman was again a force on defense, managing to add 17 points to lead the team. His sophomore brother was a force on the offensive glass especially, reeling in 12 rebounds, and notching his fifth career double-double with 12 points.

“We’re an inside offense first,” Enfield said. “Our big guys are hard to stop.”

With nothing working outside, USC didn’t venture much out of the paint. Tahj Eaddy struggled to find a rhythm, making three of 10 from the field. Ethan Anderson, fresh off a career night against UCLA, scored just two points. So USC did most of its work around the basket, tallying 46 of its total 69 in the paint.

It was the kind of adjustment USC is built to make, with its excess of size and its star 7-footer commanding nightly double-teams. But it made for a slow start out of the gate. With just over four minutes left in the half, USC still trailed Washington 27-26.

Then, like it has done so many times over its start to conference play, USC’s defense simply ground down Washington. Green didn’t score over the final 13 1/2 minutes. The Huskies shot less than 35% from the field and hit just two three-pointers after the half.

“Defensively, we’re very good,” Enfield said. “We challenged every shot.”

Even as USC’s offense remained slow and methodical, unable to put Washington away, its defense kept the Huskies at bay. It was the type of second-half performance that put them in first place in the first place.

latimes.com

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Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 16, 2021 11:32 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I do remember in the last year or so of PC being at USC things started to go downhill as far as talent in critical areas like O line and defense. Wonder if that is what is happening in Seahawk country.

Chris
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 8:57 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

im 50/50 on how well he will do in NFL. Culture only gets you so far in the pro’s. It seems like the best coaches are the best play callers.

Chris
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 8:58 pm
Reply to  Chris

And you have to be a great evaluator as well. Win the draft, it’s not optional.

Chris
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 10:00 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Truth!

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 8:24 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Respectfully disagree with you Allen. The Tampa Defense won their championship. Brady was a big lift on offense but that D is what did the trick to win games.

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
February 15, 2021 7:56 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Butch Jones was clownish at UT. He lost the team with his trite and cheesy slogans. Hopefully Jones has learned that a catchy slogan does not a winning culture make.

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 6:52 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Didn’t Butch Jones play at Arkansas?

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Thank you. His name reminded me of a player during the Houston Nutt era.

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
February 16, 2021 1:28 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Wow, that’s a tough call between the two. If I had to pick, probably Jones. I don’t have any evidence that Helton has done anything to improve the coaching staff, I believe that’s all Bohn’s doing. Aside from that, to this point in time, they are pretty much the same guy. Jones mismanaged some key personnel, like Alvin Kamara. His clock management is terrible. His play calling is lacking (see UT vs UF 2018, Vols had first and goal in 4th quarter). He is uninspiring as a leader. He always found excuses on why they lost that didn’t include his… Read more »

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
February 17, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m thinking that Saban is willing to take on coach projects if he thinks they have potential. In Helton’s case, since he’s hit his ceiling as a coach, I would be shocked if Saban offered an invite to join his staff. But if he did, a really interesting question is, what would be Helton’s role? Somewhere around laundry-boy I’m guessing.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 16, 2021 8:18 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I initially read that when Donte came to USC, it was because he needed to be closer to his father who was seriously ill. He left Oregon with their blessing and it really has nothing to do with Helton except he was the doorman opening up the door to let Donte in. Helton did not steal anyone, Donte gifted himself to USC for his own benefit. Granted, he did beat out ucla, but that is not a huge accomplishment anyway. Correct me if I am wrong, but this information is what I read on the internet so it has to… Read more »

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 16, 2021 9:07 am
Reply to  Steveg

Steveg I want to believe your posting here as it follows a continual pattern. It is more about a string of “luck” that CH has enjoyed rather than what he brings to the what-to-do & how-to-do-it table. As Mike Bohn has addressed, Helton has to have hired help surrounding him to move this program forward.

Last edited 8 days ago by Jamaica
ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 2:01 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Do you remember the part in Boogie Nights when Don Cheadle’s character goes into a donut shop while his pregnant wife waits in the car for her craving to be satisfied (crullers or something)? Cheadle is a scared sh**less customer when an armed robbery goes bad and everybody dies in the shop except Cheadle. But the cash register is open and lots of money is there for the taking so Cheadle can start his dream business of a high-end stereo shop. That’s Helton–surviving the carnage around him while he continues to get lucky opportunities dropped in his lap not of… Read more »

Chris
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 11:20 am

Just saw a tweet showing number of wins for each pac 12 football program in the last 45 years. We are out ahead of Washington and Oregon by about 30 and 40. Where we would be without the PC era? Honestly if that hadn’t happened we would just be an afterthought, like the academies or Nebraska. A once was but no longer has a hope to ever be.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  Chris

Well said Chris and so true. I would love to see total wins in the last 20 years of PAC-12 programs versus the other Power 5 conferences. 2nd thought, maybe I wouldn’t….

Chris
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 1:47 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Just saying our gap between great teams would be the grand canyon without Pete.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 16, 2021 9:27 am
Reply to  Chris

And there are some talented coaches out there who would come here and start creating another Trojan foundation of solid football with all the benefits this program & its brand could provide in regenerating & sustaining it.. Yet it has been decided now is not the time to rebuild, just repair.

Last edited 8 days ago by Jamaica
Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 15, 2021 3:18 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hard for me to figure out why teams with less wins and more losses are ranked ahead of them. Are these BB polls just a good old boy network aiming to get the same old boys into the ncaa championship?

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 6:54 am
Reply to  Steveg

Yes, of course. Journalists of all stripes are lazy, including sports reporters….

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 16, 2021 6:58 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I understand young Mr. Murphy’s decision. They probably teach real O-line skills at UNLV. Not the soft, soft stuff needed to make our one-dimensional offense work….

LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 8:51 am

How sweet it is!– Some of the posters here are excited about SC basketball, but will it last? Enjoy the year because when the Mobley (or is it Mauler?) boys move on, SC sees no other superstars on the horizon…. A big problem with SC basketball recruiting is the lack of fan support at the games. Recruits see 2500 lazy fans at Galen creating little excitement, unless they attend a sucla game with 8000-10,000 mainly Trojan fans. Different story, as the 2020 game proved when our boy hit a last-second ‘3’ to shock the bruins….. . And as it turned… Read more »

RialtoTrojan
Noble Member
February 14, 2021 9:22 am
Reply to  LawyerJohn

I agree with the low turnout for basketball games being bad for team morale. It’s not an excuse but many games are on weeknights. It’s hard to attend anything in the area on a weeknight. I don’t know but I assume the games aren’t hyped the way football games are. So the team is trending at the worst time because us old folks and bandwagon fans would be there if we could.

redondob
Active Member
February 14, 2021 10:33 am
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

I am a long time season ticket holder and would love to be there. I guess that’s the 2021 version of the SC basketball curse. When fans finally want to attend they are not allowed.
The lack of attendance goes back over 60 years and starts with the students. Our only league titles are in 1961 and 1985. Also, to be honest, the places we have road wins would have been much tougher with fans present.
We have never been able to sustain success but let’s hope this time is different.

rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 15, 2021 6:19 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I went to some games during the Westphal years when I was in High School as Bill Westphal, Paul’s older brother and SC forward in the mid-1960s, was our Glendale High Basketball Coach. It was scary going to the Sports Arena at night, so I’d always take a couple of buddies with me.

Last edited 9 days ago by rleeholder1
rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 15, 2021 6:16 am
Reply to  redondob

I was a student at SC from the Fall of 1973 through the Spring of 1979 when I earned a Masters Degree. I went to several Basketball games and always got a great seat. Gus Williams was in the backcourt when I was a Sophomore. Back in those days, you put your life on the line going to the Sports Arena at night. I always parked my car in the dirt lot next to Giant Felix Chevrolet and would go meet some buddies who were in the dorms and we would go down Figueroa St in a group. You didn’t… Read more »

LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 8:52 am
Reply to  redondob

Hey, redondob, nice job. And maybe you can pass on the news how SC basketball can be quite illuminating. I mean, the SC-sucla 2020 game at Galen had Trojan fans gasping for air after the Trojans, seemingly have lost, pulled it out. Screaming Trojan fans was a sight to see and feel. I didn’t leave for half an hour, wanting to soak up to the last drop that incredible Trojan-victory feeling. Especially over the sucla Midget-Bears.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 12:05 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

The big problem about finding new recruits constantly isn’t just a USC problem. It is a CBB problem with one & done players who are good and know it. this has brought down a once very exciting sport that you could follow like football knowing your team could build a great program knowing that even your best players were returning every year. Think about if John Wooden would have had the success he did for 10 straight years having to deal with one & done taking Kareem, Bill, Sidney & Marcus after just one year?

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 12:24 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Think about how the basketball program would build if the brothers stuck around for 3-more years.

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
February 14, 2021 1:49 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Think of the problems UCLA would have had if the NCAA had not allowed them to pay their players significant dollars. I never realized until recently that a UCLA booster was paying Wooden’s players big time dollars to attend UCLA. Not that it is big deal, as it turns out that every major BB programs is paying it players in the $100,000’s of thousands to play for them. My guess is the UCLA kids made only a fraction of what is now being paid. The NCAA is so corrupt!

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
February 14, 2021 7:16 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Watched the game last night. This is, I think, the best SC BB team I have ever seen. Andy Enfield teams have a consistent pattern – they fold in February and March. This team could have folded last night but simply did not. WSU is not an elite team but it is a solid team that plays well at home. After all, they beat UCLA earlier in the week. I barely understand football and I have understand even less about basketball, but this appears to be a very good team. What struck me was the significant difference between the Mobley… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
Diamond Member
February 14, 2021 1:44 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

When I think about how enamored Magic was of Lonzo Ball, who could never really create his own shot and be a consistent scorer in the NBA, I think of how the Lakers could have punked the Celtics by taking Jason Tatum with the second pick. Danny Ainge wanted him all along, and fleeced the Sixers by swapping picks. Boston must have known the Lakers weren’t going to take Tatum, who is elite. Anyway, exciting times for USC basketball. It’s the first Enfield team committed to defense, which will be the difference during the tournament. Last years team with Okongwu… Read more »

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 12:36 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Yep, Ewers left but Sark could easily walk into Helton’s backyard and grab Murphy. I have to assume Donte did approach Murphy to feel him out. But seeing USC QBs get hurt so much in games, why would anyone (even if you are 6’5″ weighing 220 lbs) other than a 3-star, who got passed over by all the good programs, want to come here? There are some obstacles that even the USC brand cannot overcome.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 1:14 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I do agree with that summation. But it still hurts to see a top rated QB in USC’s backyard not even consider USC. I would have to think Jaxon Dart, being a duel threat QB, if he shows he can find the right receiver and throw accurate passes in the college game be the next QB at USC. Until the OL improves enough, we need another Fran Tarkington behind center.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 5:14 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

We will certainly get to see if Dart, being a hotshot QB in Utah high school is anything like playing in Calif., Texas, Florida, etc. We know the competition Murphy played against and Moss for that matter. You may not think much of Murphy, but he is a local boy I will follow. If he does turn out to be really good, then maybe USC lost more than just another QB that grows like trees around here.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 7:13 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

What did I say? I said it just hurts that Murphy, being a top rated QB in USC’s backyard not “consider” USC. We don’t even know if he ever considered USC the way this coaching staff has treated its QBs these past 3/4 years. But we know Sark sure wanted him and I think he knows what promising QB looks like and can develop them a little better than anyone here at USC today. I’m not worrying. I’m caring enough to want what’s best for USC football. If PC was still here, knowing he would recruit QBs like RBs and… Read more »

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 14, 2021 4:35 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

These two new QB’s coming in reminds me of a few years ago, the QB controversy’s we had. I can see one coming. Clay has to realize if both are good, one will leave and he better get a back up in place with the class of 2022 or 2023 at the latest. Fortunately there is always some decent talent in the portal at QB.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 4:49 pm
Reply to  Steveg

The QBs in the Portal are there mainly to find a program who will give them the ball and not as a backup like they escaped from?

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 14, 2021 6:23 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Remember, we have a back up QB now that came through the portal from Vanderbuilt.

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
February 13, 2021 6:46 am
LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
February 12, 2021 6:56 pm

Which sport is more exciting, football or basketball? Well, football’s excitement is often built into a long drive for a touchdown. Play after play gets the team closer to the goal line and 6-points. The excitement builds and builds until the score is actualized. And, of course, the game can have moments of lightening-like excitement– a long run or pass play. In comparison, basketball’s primary source of excitement emanates from made shots throughout the game, and there are a lot of them. As a result, a typical basketball game has more exciting moments than football, but football has the bigger… Read more »

rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 12, 2021 3:35 pm

To me, SC’s BB winning is keyed by Defense. The Mobley brothers are absolute trees in the middle and they alter a lot of shots by the other teams. It’s exciting to see BB back in the hunt for a title. I’ve been a fan since Paul Westphal, may he R.I.P., was leading the Trojans in the early 70s. We were always overshadowed by the bRUINS for years, but now we are beating them with regularity. I still think we are overlooked and not given enough respect on a National level. East Coast teams and Kansas/Kentucky get the lion’s share… Read more »

rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 13, 2021 4:12 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m hoping it’s the best year. When was a Senior at Glendale High and Bill Westphal was our coach, the ’71-’72 team with Paul Westphal, Joe Mackey and crew was ranked #2 in the country and should have gone to the NCAA’s, but that’s when only 32 teams played. The only two losses that season were to the eventual champion little gutties. We then went to the NIT and lost to Notre Dame which has always be a craw in my side. I can’t recall the exact year, but we lost to Duke in the “Sweet Sixteen” when we had… Read more »

rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 13, 2021 11:43 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I agree with you 100 percent Allen. I’m disappointed that the little gutties have had our number in Baseball lately. For so many years Rod Dedeaux’s team dominated. I remember seeing Fred Lynn in center when Dedeaux Field was opened in the Spring of my Freshman year at SC. We beat UCLA something like 24-2 in that dedication game. Off the football team, Anthony Davis was in right field, Marvin Cobb was at second and Rob Hertl was at third. It’s truly amazing how many guys excelled at both Football and Baseball at USC. After I graduated, Anthony Munoz and… Read more »

rleeholder1
Noble Member
February 13, 2021 2:36 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I hope he does too Allen.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

USC baseball needs to come back and USC track needs to keep building as it is doing. Again, no matter the sport or even the school, it is the HC that makes the big difference. And surrounding that HC with help will only go so far. We’ll see about Gill but we do have the right HC in Caryl Smith Gilbert.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 4:23 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

And who hired Savage? A former UCLA baseball player named Dan Guerrero. Mike Bohn’s sport was basketball at Kansas. Will we see USC BB benefit from this connection? Mike Garret played football at USC and was relentless in finding the right HC who won big. But football was also Lynn Swann’s sport and look how he treated it as did Pat Haden. But I believe Haden, like Nikias, was not a good judge of people as leaders, making his mind up too quickly without studying the ramifications. Swann only wanted the title “USC AD” and did little else.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 12:22 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

It was night & day between Haden & Swann alright. But Haden had Nikias’ complete backing and probably could do anything he wanted as AD. Haden may have put too much pressure on himself with his choices you think and when it didn’t work out, it started to destroy him, being everyone’s golden boy. Like you said, Haden had no experience in administrative protocol. He wanted something or someone, that was it (so much for his national search statements). Swann begged for the AD job, Haden was begged to take it.

RialtoTrojan
Noble Member
February 12, 2021 1:35 pm

I was afraid this would happen I took time to diss the Basketball team and they went out and won again! So I will have to totally ignore them until Mid-March. If I even think about watching a game, I’ll jinx it the way I am blamed for instant traffic on the Freeway. I say, “traffic seems light” and poof the freeway stops dead (anytime day or night)

Chris
Knighted Member
February 12, 2021 1:15 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Now we know why UA wanted to back out of the deal.

RialtoTrojan
Noble Member
February 12, 2021 1:32 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

That’s because unsold Ucla gear shows up in discount places such as Dd’s and Ross where you can buy a shirt with 12 button holes and 14 buttons. Besides only a diehard Bruin fan (and I know a few) would wear Ucla gear in public. Not much good for advertising…

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
February 13, 2021 7:58 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Meanwhile, USC is looking to sell an old mansion for $24.5 mil. Anybody out there ever been to the old presidential palace?

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 13, 2021 10:54 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

I would keep it until the little socialist leaves. She wanted to be near all of her commie friends on the Westside. God I hate that woman.

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
February 13, 2021 10:57 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Weren’t many of us discussing Neilon’s shortcomings last season to the point where we thought he might be a distant relative of Toa?

Trojan5
Knighted Member
February 13, 2021 11:08 am
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

I would like to see Dedich play more. When he does play he looks like a hard nosed mix em up kind of player. We have seen what Neilon & McKenzie look like as full time starters. Their results are less than stellar. I want to see what the other guys can do. Can Rodriguez play? Can Courtland? I am of the school that competition for the OLine should be totally open. Including any incoming freshman. Last years results should not give any player a leg up on any other.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 14, 2021 1:04 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, I know GH wants as many receivers at the LOS as he can arrange. It is his bread & butter way to get results. But with defenses knowing it can penetrate the porous Trojan OL and pressure Slovis, something has to change. Slovis is showing the stress & strain of constant hits and it is affecting his morale if not his throwing accuracy that is rushed towards the receiver who might not yet be open. GH needs to rethink his schematics by placing a big blocking back in the backfield next to Slovis to get in the way of… Read more »

Jamaica
Knighted Member
February 15, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

OK and yes, who are we to critique/play Monday morning QB on GH-Drevno-Helton on what we saw in most games these past two seasons. But it isn’t getting any better and Slovis is wearing out getting beat up just about every game with his arm/shoulder possibly damaged? AR is what it is and how GH sets it up to his liking is what we’ve got. But if the OL continues as it has, (can McGuire make such a quick fix on a 3/4-year constant problem?) what is going to slow down this attack on the QB? Slovis rolling out more?… Read more »

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
February 12, 2021 6:40 am

This winning at basketball has created a whole new bandwagon to jump on. I haven’t paid attention to BB for quite a while but have decided to jump on the wagon and see where this team takes us. Also it is nice to see Duke and the other perennial final fours not doing quite as well this season.