USC’s Defense Comes To Play! Snuffs Drake

USC pulls away to defeat Drake in NCAA tournament first-round game

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  Tenacious defense had taken USC this far, back to the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years, primed for a possible postseason run at a pivotal point in Andy Enfield’s eighth season at the helm. So when the Trojans finally decided to clamp down in their tournament debut Saturday, Drake quickly came apart.

A huge first-half from Joseph Yesufu, the Bulldogs’ fearless point guard, kept Drake alive for the first half and the few minutes that followed. But it wasn’t enough to upend an elite defensive effort from USC, which eventually rolled to a 72-56 victory in a West Region game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The sixth-seeded Trojans (23-7) will face third-seeded Kansas on Monday, with a chance to earn an invite to their first Sweet 16 since 2007, seven years before Enfield took the job at USC.

In his eight seasons, the coach hasn’t seen a defense quite like the one USC trotted out in the second half against No. 11 Drake. USC shut down Yesufu, clogged the lane, and allowed just 19 points after halftime. At one point, the Bulldogs (26-5) were just two for 23 from the perimeter.

Isaiah Mobley (3), who scored 15 points, acknowledges fans after the Trojans beat Drake. Brother Evan looks on. (Paul Sancya / AP)

Even as USC got off to a slow start in the second half, it didn’t matter. Its defense ruled the day.

The Mobley brothers paced the offense, as star freshman Evan Mobley led the team with 17 points and 11 rebounds to go with three blocks. His brother, Isaiah, was even more efficient on the offensive end, making six of seven shots for 15 points.

Until the wheels fell off midway through the second half, Drake seemed poised to keep it close. Yesufu scored 11 of the Bulldogs’ first 13 points. He had 18 at the half, as USC led by just three points.

latimes.com

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Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 24, 2021 10:02 am

Defense wins championships. How many successful HC’s have said that over the years? And yet, you have numerous programs who are all offense and play the “we need to outscore the other team” mentality. How many championships have they won?

San Diego Trojan
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
March 21, 2021 11:03 am

The conference, and USC were getting a lot of love on the CBS pregame show this morning, which just goes to show that you can change Commissioner’s and TV deals, but winning consistently is the cure-all for better perception. It’s good to see for a change

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
March 21, 2021 11:32 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Why do you say suddenly, without him they would have been at the bottom of the conference.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
March 21, 2021 2:29 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Funny you should mention CU. What I have seen of them they could be the big Cinderella this year. They play solid team basketball.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 24, 2021 10:19 am

And you hope the conference presidents have also realized their attitudes about supporting their school football program need to rev up to a higher level. West Coast schools have been hanging on the coattails of the other Power 5 conferences for years and it sure shows!

PN4SC
Noble Member
PN4SC (@pn4sc)
March 21, 2021 9:13 am

I am glad the conference is doing well, but no self respecting USC fans would ever root for ucla, under any circumstances. They are our hated rivals, and we compete with them for players.
If ucla played North Korea, I still would root for them to lose.

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 21, 2021 9:41 am
Reply to  PN4SC

LOL — last night I told a friend that I would even root for Tehran Unversity if they played Cal Jr. — even if it was only a game of checkers. 😎

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
March 21, 2021 8:44 am

I think that was the second best NCAA game I have seen SC play. The best was against the Kevin Durant TX team. I have no idea if SC can beat KS, but I think they stand a good chance. When they play like they did the 2nd half against UCLA, CO and Drake, I think they can play with anyone. As an aside, I find Bill Walton totally annoying. But, he did say that the Pac was hugely underrated this year. He thought the Pac had better teams than the Big 10, except for two. He thought Ilinois and… Read more »

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
March 21, 2021 3:23 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

I so agree about Walton, to me it is painful to have to listen to him for more than 10 seconds.

LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
March 21, 2021 8:43 am

Man, is this fun, or what!?…. Naturally the L.A. Times Plaschke saw an entire orchestra when probably the trombone section has not quite arrived. Of course, if you are given a name at birth with “sc” in the middle of it, who you gonna root for…. And ‘root root root’ is what all us Trojans are singing these days. But Our Boys must first get past Kansas University. Lose, and the good times will all come crushing down on us, and once again Trojan Basketball will be placed back in the closet by most fans…. SC by 1-point says Las… Read more »

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
ATL D.D.S. (@atl-d-d-s)
March 21, 2021 9:25 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

“Fight Onward?” That little maoist can’t even get THE slogan correct!

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 21, 2021 9:44 am
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

LOL — and she was probably wearing a blue pants suit with a yellow blouse at the time too.

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 21, 2021 10:45 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Even if she wanted too, she would first need to get permission from Caruso. 🙄

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 21, 2021 11:36 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Me neither. But re: all indications, it’s just not something he seems very focused on. Maybe football success and how it would increase revenue doesn’t float his boat.

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
March 22, 2021 7:18 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

She’s all about being correct, whether it be politically or grammatically.

San Diego Trojan
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
March 20, 2021 6:11 pm

Nice win. Real happy for the team and all of us. But they are going to have to play more physical and scramble for every loose ball if they want to go further, IMO. As a side note, is there any athletic department in America, who has benefited more from the Covid protocols than the University of Oregon? First football, now basketball? Free pass into the second round. I am very happy that the conference is making us proud so far. I might even root for UCLA later. Blasphemy!

San Diego Trojan
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
March 20, 2021 7:34 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

You are right, Allen, shame on me for uttering those words. Ha! But I do like the conference doing well

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 20, 2021 10:15 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, where’s your Pac-12 spirit/support?

BTW, since you brought the subject up, I need to get my head into Cal Jr.’s next game. Do you happen to know the words to the Abilene Christian fight song? 😀

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 21, 2021 7:53 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

LOL — well played my friend. 🙂

UtahTrojan
Knighted Member
UtahTrojan (@utahtrojan)
March 20, 2021 7:45 pm

I could never imagine myself rooting for the ruins under any circumstances