The USC Trojans’ run at the NCAA Tournament is officially over. The Trojans found themselves down by 13 less than six minutes in and never recovered in a 85-66 loss to the No. 1 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Isaiah Mobley led USC with 19, his brother, Evan, chipped in with 17 in the loss. Drew Timme led Gonzaga with 23, while Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs each had 18 in the victory.
The loss ends the Trojans’ hopes of making it to the Final Four for the third time in the program’s history.
Head coach Andy Enfield tried everything to get his team going, but they went cold after being one of the best shooting teams in the tournament. Thanks to the Bulldogs’ swarming defense, USC shot just 37.7 percent from the field and a woeful four-of-15 from beyond the arc.
The Trojans didn’t get much from Tahj Eaddy and Isaiah White. The pair combined to shoot five-of-17 from the field for just 13 points.
USC got off to a really slow start. The Trojans turned the ball two times out of their four possessions and found themselves down 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Gonzaga continued to dominate USC early on. The Bulldogs’ defense helped the Trojans to just two-of-seven shooting, and they were able to get out on the fast break. Drew Timme outscored USC over the first six minutes with nine points and helped Gonzaga build a 17-4 lead.
It didn’t get any better from there. The Bulldogs’ defense swarmed USC, holding it to just 36.1 percent shooting and forced the Trojans into seven turnovers, which resulted in some easy transition points for the No. 1 seed.
Enfield’s squad couldn’t stop Gonzaga’s potent offense in the first half. Timmie had 15 points, while Jalen Suggs chipped in with 15 over the first 20 minutes as the Bulldogs shot 54.1 percent from the field and took a 49-30 lead into the break.
This season will be considered a major success for Enfield and the Trojans. He got his team back into the tournament for the first time in four years and will have another lottery pick at this year’s NBA Draft with Evan Mobley expected to go in the top five, following Onyeka Okongwu, who was selected sixth overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2020.