USC will be without its leading scorer for Saturday’s crucial crosstown showdown with rival UCLA.
All signs this week pointed toward Isaiah Mobley playing through the broken nose he suffered last Saturday against Arizona. USC coach Andy Enfield said Thursday he was expected to play. Mobley was fitted for a protective mask soon after, with the expectation that he’d wear it against the Bruins.
Instead, USC will be short-handed in one of its most important matchups of the season. Mobley’s absence nearly cost the Trojans a win this past Tuesday, only for USC to mount a second-half, 13-point comeback to beat Pacific, a team that had won just three times since Thanksgiving.
How USC overcomes his absence in a much more difficult matchup remains to be seen. It managed to beat its rival four consecutive times without much offensive contribution from Mobley. The junior forward scored just 11 combined points across two meetings in 2021 and five points across two wins in 2020.