After a quiet first half, No. 17USC knew that returning to Arizona at Galen Center on Saturday would require a great deal of effort from the center’s Evan Mobley.
The Trojan got it, and a 7-foot freshman won 19 out of 23 after half-time. But with little help from the rest of his teammates, it wasn’t enough for Arizona to defeat USC 71-62 and finish seven consecutive Trojan horse wins.
It was clear from the beginning that the USC (18-4, 12-3 on Pac-12) would fill up against the strong Arizona team.
Wildcats defeated USC in the first half, scoring 22 paint points and surpassing USC 21-16. The Trojan switched between humans and zone defense, but still struggled to slow down Arizona (15-8, 9-8) and advance Azuolas Tubelis, who scored 10 points and 12 rebounds halftime before. did.
USC lost on Saturday with a 43-36 rebound. This was when the Trojan lost its rebound margin for the first time since December.
“The first half was a bit more physical to us,” said Andy Enfield, head coach of USC. “You have to play against quality teams like Arizona, especially teams of the size they have, for 40 minutes.”
Guard Tahj Eaddy, who scored 17 points at USC, added: They had 50-50 balls and had too many aggressive rebounds to give them confidence early on and gain momentum throughout the game. ”
Arizona then removed Mobley from the game early on, stealing the entry pass to the center and hoping that his pass would return to the surroundings when Wildcat’s defenses collapsed around him. Mobley was limited to 4 points and there were no rebounds in the first half.
The Freshman Center focused second, completing a three-point play at the opening, scoring the first eight points of the USC and drawing the match 39.
“I knew we had to go out and be proactive in order to win. We did it in the second half. It wasn’t enough to bring us victory.” Mobley said. “It feels like their main focus at the beginning of the game was me. Every time I catch it, I’ll see help [defense] right away. ”
Wildcats responded with each trojan run. Arizona regained the lead by hitting the first four three pointers in the second half and never abandoned it again.
And Arizona has the type of balanced attack needed to get rid of the upset. Guard James Akinjo led the Wildcats 20 points and drove the Trojan to the edge. Forward Jordan Brown stretched his muscles towards 19, and Tuberis finished at 16. Guard Car Krisha and Darenterry combined five three points.
The USC attack was not suitable for the challenge. Mobley and guard Tay Eddie scored a total of 40 points, while all other Trojans shot 12 at 35 points from the floor. The USC shot 35% from the 3-point range, leaving 9 points on the free throw line.
Even if there were talented opportunities, such as when a technical foul against Christian Koroko in Arizona shot six free throws on a Trojan horse with one possession, the USC has three of those attempts. I missed one and couldn’t get the capital.
“Some guys aren’t big scorers, but what we want is to shoot a decent percentage,” Enfield said. “Tonight we didn’t find it unpleasant.”