LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California played the first half before realizing an age-old axiom in college basketball: Don't underestimate your opponent, no matter who they are.
Led by Isaiah Mobley's 21 points and 12 rebounds, the 16th-ranked Trojans pulled away at the beginning of the second half on their way to a 73-62 victory over Long Beach State on Sunday.
"These teams come in and think it's their Super Bowl," said Drew Peterson, who added 15 points for USC. "One game can kind of set us back big time, so we knew we had to lock down. Thankfully, we answered right away."
The Trojans (10-0) continued their best start since the 2016-17 season, when they opened 14-0. Max Agbonkpolo had 11 points, and Mobley had his fourth double-double in five games.
Joel Murray led the Beach (3-7) with 14 points. Colin Slater added 12 points and Romelle Mansel had 10 points, including three dunks in the second half, and seven rebounds.
Neither team led by more than seven points in the first half. The Beach outscored USC 12-9 to lead by three before Peterson hit a 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer for a 38-all tie.
"We made our point at halftime as a coaching staff and we moved on," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "You can't take it for granted. You have to go out and perform."
The Trojans did just that, opening the second half on a 14-0 run, with six points from Mobley and five by Chevez Goodwin, to take a 52-38 lead.
"It's another good learning experience for us," Peterson said. "We don't want it to cost us a big game down the stretch. It's always good getting some adversity and seeing how we withstand that."
Long Beach State missed its first six shots of that half before Slater hit a jumper. Mobley then dunked off Peterson's assist, and Agbonkpolo tossed in consecutive 3-pointers that stretched USC's lead to 13 points.
The Beach followed with back-to-back baskets by Slater, including a 3-pointer, to make it 62-54. But Peterson answered with USC's ninth 3-pointer of the game, and the Beach were effectively done.
"They came out in the second half and we missed a couple of good looks," Beach coach Dan Monson said. "Then it snowballed and they took control of the game. We kept fighting and we had an opportunity, but they were better than us when they needed to be."
Long Beach State finished at 38% shooting, keeping intact USC's streak of holding every opponent this season to under 40%.
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