The Stanford Cardinal (15-10, 6-6 Pac-12) lost for the second time this season to the USC Trojans (12-13, 7-5 Pac-12) by the final score of 65-64 in what was another nail-biter until the final buzzer.
Stanford had a chance to win the game down by one point with the final shot but were unable to pull out the win. At one point the Cardinal were down by double-digit points but in the end were unable to overcome the deficit.
A key to the game was the huge difference in free throws with USC hitting 18 of 23 while the Cardinal were only able to hit 4 of 12 from the charity stripe in what was definitely a disappointing effort in that area of the game.
It had to be frustrating for Coach Dawkins and a team that fought so hard to come back in the game only to fail to hit free throws that could have easily kept Stanford in the game, and possibly helped win it as well.
Another key was the Cardinal bench which was ineffective to say the least. They ended with only two points on eight shots and were invisible all game, which was the total opposite of the first meeting. Four of those shots came from leading three point shooter in the conference John Gage who had three open looks from behind the arc but just could not knock anything down.
In the first half it was all about Josh Huestis for the Stanford Cardinal. He ended the half with 15 points, all of which were the first 15 out of Stanford’s first 21 points. If it were not for him this game could have gotten massively out of hand early.
On the defensive side of things Dwight Powell hauled in 10 rebounds and added four points while struggling from the field shooting only 2 of 7.
For USC it was all about Dewayne Dedmon who hit scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting and grabbed four rebounds off the glass. Along with him was guard J.T. Terrell who added nine points including a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc. The game was pretty close the whole half but USC ended the half very well and started to break the game open a little bit. At the end of the half the score was 35-23 USC.
In the second half for Stanford it was Chasson Randle who came alive in a big way. He posted all 16 of his points in that second half after being blanked in the first and was huge for the Cardinal. Powell continued his dominace on the boards finishing with 17 rebounds and added 17 points including a few key baskets in the final seconds of the game; what you would expect from your big scorer, even if he had been struggling during most of the game. Huestis ended the game with 22 points and six rebounds on 10 of 13 shooting. In the end, none of that was enough.
The Trojans got scoring all from all over the floor and in the end took home the victory. Dedmond played a fantastic game and finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds for the Trojans.
A big part of the win for USC was Jio Fontan who hit all nine of his free throw attempts including quite a few key ones at the end of the game to keep Stanford at bay. Junior guard J.T. Terrell also hit three of his five three-pointers and finished the game with 12 points, with nine of those coming in the first half.
It was another rough loss for the Cardinal who are fighting for an NCAA tournament birth. They will have to regroup quickly because an angry UCLA team, who just lost to Cal this evening, is coming to town on Saturday and a win against them will go a long way to securing a bid to the ‘big dance’.