With a win over Arizona State 73-64 Saturday night, USC men’s basketball has swept the Arizona schools on the road for the first time since the 1984-85 season. It’s also the program’s first 2-0 road start since 2007.
Postgame, head coach Andy Enfield credited the program and the players for the successful road trip.
“We played great against Arizona on both ends, and tonight we had our moments; we didn’t play a great game, but we played well enough to win on the road,” he said. “You’ll take any win on the road.”
Five of the last six times USC has faced Arizona State, the games have been decided by three points or less, so a hard-fought game was to be expected.
The Sun Devils were short-handed for a second consecutive game, missing four of their players.
One player missing for the Sun Devils was senior guard Remy Martin, who, along with the Trojans’ freshman forward Evan Mobley, was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List.
The Trojans were dominant early and for much of the first half, leading by as many as 18 points and doubling the Sun Devils’ number of rebounds.
But a late surge by the Sun Devils, led by senior guard Holland Woods, helped them end the first half on a 14-0 run to cut the Trojans’ lead to four at halftime.
The Trojan offense is ranked first in the Pac-12 in both field goal percentage (49%) and 3-point percentage (39%) but finished the game shooting only 39% from the field and a troubling 14% from outside the arc.
The Trojans grinded out a victory behind their team’s 49 rebounds compared to the Sun Devils’ 25. USC also benefited from 12 blocks, six of which came from Mobley.
Mobley scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to go with his blocks, and his one assist to junior guard Drew Peterson resulted in the Trojans’ only 3-point field goal coming late in the second half.
Sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley made it two double-doubles for the brothers, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Tahj Eaddy was the Trojans’ second-leading scorer with 16 and converted on the dagger shot with 45 seconds left in the game to give the team an 8-point lead, their largest of the half.
“We’re a defensive-minded team, you have to win when you’re not playing your best,” Enfield said. “It’s a long season, it was a long game and it felt like it was four hours because of the intensity of the second half. The foul line won it for us.”
The team ranks last in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage at 62%, but shot 26-of-32 against Arizona State.
When the Trojans lead at halftime they are undefeated. They also move to 5-0 when they score 70 points or more.
USC returns home to the Galen Center, where they will face UC Riverside Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT.