Mobley, a 7-foot-7 freshman forward and second-team AP All-American, is expected to make 7-for-15 on field goals and block three shots when he is announced for the draft.
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Evan’s older brother, sophomore Isaiah Mobley, scored 15 points to make it a family affair for the Trojans.
We both had good games, I think, Evan Mobley said. Both are pretty big numbers. We will cherish this victory, but we can’t dwell on it too long, because there are other games to come.
Drew Peterson added 14 points for USC (23-7), which advances to the second round Monday at no. 3 Kansas.
Joseph Yesufu scored 26 points against Drake’s 11, but none of his teammates scored more than six. The sophomore defender registered 8 of 22 shots in the game, while his teammates recorded just 12 of 46.
Drake (26-5) has opened the season with 18 consecutive wins. The Bulldogs won their first First Four game in 50 years on Thursday, but this extra game had everything going for it. Drake shot 29% against USC, including 19% in the second half.
We definitely got a little tired in the second half, but I think the guys kept fighting and we just didn’t have enough strength to get back in the game, Drake coach Darian DeVries said.
Esufu, like his teammates, struggled in the second half, making just 2 of 10 shots after the break. Evan Mobley was in the middle of the USC zone for the final 10 minutes of the game.
We thought he would be their top scorer, but we didn’t really have control of the ball possession (in the first half), Evan Mobley said. And in the second half we pointed, talked and let our teammates know where he was so he couldn’t score as many goals.
There was a lot of excitement during the game, but the enthusiasm of the socially dispersed crowd often didn’t match the intensity on the field. Drake had a great cheer squad, but it got quiet in the second half as the Trojans pulled away. A group of several hundred USC fans cheered as the team left the field after the game.
Esufu scored 14 points in the first nine minutes to help Drake tie the game. USC led 40-37 at halftime thanks to 13 points and 8 rebounds from Evan Mobley.
The Trojans allowed Drake just one field goal in the first six minutes of the second half to take control of the ball. Evan Mobley scored the game-winner to extend USC’s lead to 51-40.
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Esufu tried to keep the Bulldogs in the game. Her three-pointer cut USC’s lead to 57-50 and forced the Trojans to call a timeout.
Peterson came out of the timeout with a 3-pointer for USC, then Tahj Eddy made a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 13.
I thought our guys gave a solid defensive effort, especially in the second half, to get this win and we look forward to the next round, USC coach Andy Enfield said.
Esufu was averaging single digits this season before closing an eight-game gap with an average of 23.6 points per game. The sophomore guard scored 36 and 32 points in two games against Evansville and 21 points in a first-round victory over Wichita State.
Drake guard Garrett Sturtz finished with five points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
He left everything there, DeVries said. He tried to force every play in the second half to keep us in the game.
DeVries: We don’t mind wearing masks. We would love to keep them here another week if we could. But from our point of view, we’re just grateful that we came here and got the chance to play.
HISTORY OF THE USSR
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USC is 5-11 against Kansas and has lost the last seven meetings with the Jayhawks, a streak that began in 1981. The two teams have only met once before in the NCAA Tournament. In 1940, Kansas defeated USC 43-32. USC last won in 1979 with an 89-83 victory in overtime that ended a five-game winning streak.