Evan Mobley had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 6 seed Southern California used smothering defense in a 72-56 victory over Drake on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Mobley, a 7-foot freshman forward and AP second-team All-American expected to be a lottery pick if he declares for the draft, made 7 of 15 field goals and blocked three shots.
Isaiah Mobley scored 15 points and Drew Peterson added 14 for USC (23-7), which advanced to play No. 3 seed Kansas in the second round on Monday.
Joseph Yesufu scored 26 points for 11th-seeded Drake, but none of his teammates scored more than six. Drake shot 29% overall, including a dismal 19% in the second half. Yesufu made 8 of 22 shots in the game. His teammates made just 12 of 46.
Drake (26-5) claimed its first tournament win in 50 years in the First Four on Thursday.
The game had plenty of excitement but the enthusiasm in the socially distanced crowd often didn’t match the intensity on the court. Drake had the bigger crowd, but it was silenced in the second half as the Trojans pulled away. USC’s group of a few hundred fans stood and clapped for the team as it left the floor after the game.
Yesufu scored 14 points in the first nine minutes to help Drake stay even.
USC led 40-37 at the break behind 13 points and eight rebounds from Evan Mobley.
The Trojans held Drake to one field goal in the first six minutes of the second half to take control. Evan Mobley scored in close to push USC’s lead to 51-40.
Yesufu tried to keep the Bulldogs in it. His 3-pointer cut USC’s lead to 57-50 and led the Trojans to call a timeout.
Peterson came out of the timeout with a 3-pointer for USC, then Tahj Eddy made a three to push the advantage out to 13.