USC Nets 2021 Paycom Wooden Legacy Title


Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 26, 2010 – You play defense or you don’t play. USC and San Diego State carried that mantra into the championship game of the 2021 Paycom Wooden Legacy Friday, and the result was predictable.

Both teams refused to back down while playing without the ball and ultimately, it was No. 24 USC winning the battle of attrition with a 58-43 victory at the Anaheim Arena.

Tournament MVP Isaiah Mobley, the Trojans’ 6-foot-10, 240-pound junior forward, was the centerpiece of the USC defense and had 18 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and a steal as the Trojans added a Wooden trophy to go along with the one they won in the inaugural event in 2007.

“We expect this out of our players,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “If you don’t defend, you don’t play and you have to play hard when you play defense. We forgive you for missing free throws or turning the ball over or missing a couple shots here and there. We let our guys play through mistakes on offensive end but we don’t let them play through many mistakes on the defensive end or if they’re not tough.

“We’re right where we need to be. We need to clean up some things but tonight we played very hard for 40 minutes.”

Guard Drew Peterson added 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, a block and two steals to earn his way onto the all-tournament team, joining teammate Boogie Ellis plus Saint Joseph’s forward Taylor Funk and guard Lamont Butler of San Diego State.

Earlier in the evening, Saint Joseph’s scored a 77-74 win over Georgetown to capture third place.

Then came the battle for the title. By the end of the first half, USC took a 22-15 lead into the locker room after the lowest-scoring half in tournament history.

“It was a defensive struggle in the first half, there’s no question about that,” Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher said. “The only separation we gave them is we missed three one-and-ones and they hit a basket at the end of the half and gave them a little bit of a lead.

“We had a tough time manufacturing baskets. They did a good job blocking shots, contesting our shots at the rim. They’re a good defensive team, we’re a good defensive team, so I recognize when we play against one.”

USC (6-0) built its lead to as many as 17 points late in the second, though San Diego State was able to cut its deficit to eight points twice, but USC held its ground.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Butler said. “USC is a real talented team. They came out and played their butts off today. We tried to stop them but they had a few runs going on and we couldn’t hit a shot, so it’s back to the drawing board.”

Guard Trey Pulliam led the Aztecs (4-2) 11 points, but he was the only SDSU player in double figures. The Aztecs made only 32.1 percent of their shots (including a 3-of-17 effort on 3-pointers).

Not only did Peterson shine offensively – he made 6 of 10 shots – but the 6-9 senior was primarily responsible for holding Jordan Hall of Saint Joseph’s to 1-for-12 shooting on Thursday and he helped limit the Aztecs’ Matt Bradley to 1-for-7 shooting.

“We’re all so unselfish,” Peterson said. “I was trying to play off my teammates. I hadn’t been shooting too well in these past few games, but I got some confidence, which was huge. My teammates trust me and I’m so grateful for that.”

Center Josh Morgan and forward Chevez Goodwin combined for 13 rebounds and USC won on the boards, 49-33.