Stanford races past short handed USC 80 59
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Stanford used tight defense and relentless rebounding to build a lead even when the offense was nowhere to be found. Once the shots started falling for the Cardinal, the game quickly turned into a blowout.
Chasson Randle scored 18 points to lead Stanford to its fourth win in five games and a season sweep against Southern California with an 80-59 victory on Thursday night.
"I had a chance to see my guys win on the defensive end because we didn't play well offensively as far as shooting well but we found a way," coach Johnny Dawkins said. "It was through our defense and through our effort. You always want to know if you can win games that way and our kids showed today we are capable of it. That will give us a lot of confidence coming down the stretch."
Dwight Powell added 14 points and Josh Huestis had 11 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Cardinal (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12), who head into Saturday night's showdown against No. 23 UCLA on a roll.
Pe'Shon Howard scored 13 and Julian Jacobs added 11 for the Trojans (10-16, 1-12), who have lost seven straight games under first-year coach Andy Enfield.
To make matters worse for USC, the Trojans were without leading scorer Byron Wesley, who will miss both games in the Bay Area this weekend for a violation of team rules. Wesley is averaging 17.6 points per game and had scored 110 points in USC's previous five games.
"You take your leading scorer and leading rebounder out of the game, it hurts," Enfield said. "The other guys have opportunities to play more minutes."
With Wesley back home, Stanford overcame a slow start to race past the Trojans in the second half after needing overtime to win at USC last month.
The Cardinal found their shooting stroke to start the second half, making 9 of their first 11 shots to turn a five-point game into an 11-point lead midway through the half and never looked back.
"We were just aggressive," Randle said. "We got to the line a little bit and were in attack mode, didn't let anyone stop us."
Powell's jumper extended the lead to 59-42 just past the midpoint of the half and Anthony Brown's fast break dunk for a three-point play made it a 22-point game as the Cardinal coasted to the end.
"It's frustrating," Enfield said. "We played pretty well for a while, but you have to play for 40 minutes against a team like Stanford."
Huestis also blocked three shots to give him 169 for his career, breaking the school record of 167 blocks set by Tim Young.
Stanford led 32-23 at halftime despite a rough shooting half against the overmatched Trojans. The Cardinal made just 10 of 35 shots (28.6 percent) in the half, missing 12 of 13 3-pointers.
"At the end of the day, we want to be a defensive team first," Huestis said. "The fact that we didn't shoot very well was covered up by the fact we played good defense tonight."
They managed to get to the line 16 times and capitalized on 10 turnovers to take the nine-point lead when Randle hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.
The Trojans had one more turnover than made baskets as they struggled to find any consistent scoring in the absence of Wesley. They were even unable to convert a breakaway layup when Brendyn Taylor almost missed the entire rim as he appeared caught between trying a layup or a dunk.
Powell left briefly in the opening half to get three stitches in the back of his head after colliding with USC's Strahinja Gavrilovic. Powell returned with a white wrap around his head and a new No. 32 to replace his bloodied No. 33 and made his first shot after coming back.
"You never know what's going on when you see a pool of blood on the floor and a man is taken to the training room," Dawkins said. "Fortunately everything was good."