Freshman Evan Mobley scored 17 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and his older brother Isaiah scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half as USC defeated Drake, 72-56, Saturday in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament first-round game.
The Trojans, who are seeded sixth in the West Region, will next play Monday, facing third-seeded Kansas, a 93-84 winner over 14th-seeded Eastern Washington earlier Saturday, again at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the home court of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
USC led 40-37 at halftime. Junior guard Drew Peterson scored four points during an 8-0 run that increased the Trojans’ lead to 51-40 with 14 minutes, 50 seconds to play.
The Bulldogs last pulled within 10 when sophomore guard Joseph Yesufu made a 3-point basket with 6:35 left, cutting the deficit to 57-50. USC scored the next eight points on 3-point baskets by Peterson and Tahj Eaddy and two free throws by Isaiah Mobley to take a 65-50 lead with 4:35 remaining. USC led by at least 13 for the rest of the game.
Peterson added 14 as the Trojans (23-7) advanced to the second round for the first time since 2017, their most recent tournament appearance.
Yesufu had a game-high 26 for Drake (26-5), making eight of 22 shots, including six of 11 3-point attempts.
The Bulldogs last advanced past the tournament’s first round in 1971. Their 53-52 victory over Wichita State Thursday in a First Four game was their first tournament win since March 18, 1971 when they defeated Notre Dame, 79-72, in a Midwest Region semifinal.
USC is 88-5 in its last 93 games when holding the opposition to under 70 points dating back to Feb. 28, 2015, including an 18-2 record this season.
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