April 19, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

USC men’s basketball stifled by Colorado in 72-62 Pac-12 loss

Evan Mobley kept waiting and waiting for an opportunity to assert his dominance in his first taste of Pac-12 play. Entry passes were denied. Work around the basket was thwarted. Mistakes were made.

The star freshman had spent the previous month quietly establishing himself as the centerpiece of USC’s offense. But as conference play began against Colorado on New Year’s Eve, here was an opportunity for Mobley to establish himself on his biggest stage yet.

Like most opportunities for USC on Thursday night, that one also slipped away. In the star freshman’s quietest performance of the season, Mobley and the rest of the Trojans missed their chance to establish a foothold at the start of conference play in a frustrating 72-62 loss.

Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV, bottom left, battles USC’s Isaiah Mobley, right, and Isaiah White for the ball during the second half of the Trojans’ 72-62 loss Thursday.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

It was Tahj Eaddy, the transfer from Santa Clara, who did his best to will USC back into the game late by raining threes. Starting at point guard in place of Ethan Anderson, who missed his fourth consecutive game with a back injury, Eaddy hit four of USC’s nine three-pointers and led the team with 16 points and five assists.

One of those threes sparked a second-half Trojans run that saw USC cut the lead to just two points with under 10 minutes remaining. As Mobley swatted a lay-in on the other end, USC jumpstarted its transition offense, and Eaddy hit a three, just as Chevez Goodwin was fouled underneath.

Goodwin hit two free throws, and after trailing by 11 at the half, USC was suddenly within reach.

But that narrow deficit was short-lived. USC missed 11 of its next 12 shots, and its star freshman was shut down completely, finishing with only 12 points on 5 of 14 shooting.

USC coach Andy Enfield blamed himself for that uneven performance from the freshman, admitting that he played him too many minutes early on.