No. 17 USC beats Arizona State 89-71 behind Mobley brothers
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By BETH HARRIS
LOS ANGELES (AP) Evan and Isaiah Mobley proved a two-man wrecking crew for Southern California, scoring nearly half the Trojans' points.
Evan Mobley had 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and older brother Isaiah added 20 points and 12 rebounds in 17th-ranked USC's 89-71 victory over Arizona State on Wednesday that kept the Trojans atop the Pac-12.
"Anytime you have those type of numbers, it doesn't bode well for your chances," ASU coach Bobby Hurley said.
The Mobleys combined for four blocked shots and three steals, too. They each made nine shots from the field, with Isaiah taking four more than Evan's 11 attempts.
"We had a feel for each other, great chemistry," Evan Mobley said. "It was great to see him do well."
Tahj Eaddy added 18 points for the Trojans, who improved to 18-3 to start a season for the first time since 1973-74. They're 12-2 in the league and have won 13 of 14 overall.
Pac-12 scoring leader Remy Martin scored 30 points - three off his career high - for Arizona State (7-10, 4-7). Kimani Lawrence added 12 points and Jalen Graham had 10 before fouling out.
"Remy played like an all-league player," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "He was hot and it's very hard to guard him one-on-one because when he's making his step-back shots he's very quick with the ball. We thought we could challenge everyone else's shots."
The Mobley brothers dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, helping USC stretch a two-point halftime lead into its first double-digit advantage of the game.
"I don't know the type of team that's going to have the chance to beat USC that I've seen in our league unless you're flush on the court with big guys that could deal with those two under the basket," Hurley said.
The Mobleys combined to outscore Arizona State 18-10 on their own early in the second half, extending the lead to 64-54. Evan Mobley sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then stole the ball from Martin and outsprinted John Olmstead down the floor for a rim-rattling dunk.
"Evan looked like Tom Brady with the ball in his hand just reading the defense and making the right play," Enfield said.
Isaiah Mobley wasn't to be outdone by his freshman brother. He scored five straight points. With two defenders converging on Evan, he passed to Isaiah, who dunked and got fouled. Evan dunked again with Graham on his back and then he passed to Isaiah inside for a basket that finished off the brothers' scoring binge.
"When I get going, everyone else gets going and we win by a bigger margin," Isaiah said. "I've been lacking in certain games, so I just want to make a big run for the team and myself."
Even when the Sun Devils managed to tie up the Mobleys, the brothers passed to teammates who got the job done. Ethan Anderson, Max Agbonkpolo and Drew Peterson hit three consecutive 3-pointers that pushed the Trojans' lead to 73-62. USC finished with 11 3-pointers, led by Eaddy with four.
The Mobleys engineered another offensive burst in the game's closing minutes. They combined for eight straight points, highlighted by Evan's one-handed jam after ducking around two defenders. Eaddy's 3-pointer capped the 11-2 run that extended USC's lead to 87-69.
The Sun Devils were held to a pair of free throws over the game's final six minutes.
Martin scored 15 points in the first half, and the Sun Devils trailed 46-44 at the break.
The Trojans made 17 of 21 shots to open the game, highlighted by a pair of 7-0 runs.
"The first half looked like the NBA All-Star Game," Enfield said. "It was free-flowing shotmaking, not much defense by either team. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it on the TV."
Arizona State: The short-handed Sun Devils hung with USC in the first half but couldn't overcome the Mobley brothers' power, their own foul trouble and the absence of highly touted recruits Josh Christopher (back) and Marcus Bagley (back). The previous 11 meetings between the teams were decided by 10 points or less.
USC: The Trojans swept the Sun Devils for the first time since 2011 and haven't lost in a month. After the program was halted by a COVID-19-related shutdown in December, USC has been getting contributions up and down the lineup.
Arizona State: Visits UCLA on Saturday.
USC: Hosts Arizona on Saturday.
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Updated February 17, 2021