Stanford’s Second Half Struggles Lead To Loss At USC


Jan. 3, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans forward Eric Wise (34) guards Stanford Cardinal forward Andy Brown (11) during the first half of the game at the Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanford Cardinal (9-5, 0-1 Pac-12) fell to the USC Trojans (6-8, 1-0) by the score of 71-69.  This was a game of two halves for the Cardinal, as they scored 42 points in the first half, but followed that impressive total up with just 27 points in the second half.

The First Half

The Stanford bench was the story of the first half for the Cardinal; it was what enabled them to take a lead into halftime.  In fact, no starter had more than four points (Huestis), while both Andy Brown and John Gage had 11 and 10 points, respectively.  Combined they were 5-of-6 from behind the arc in that first half and 7-of-8 total.  In addition, every guy off the bench had at least three points in a combined first half effort for the Cardinal.

The Second Half

Dewayne Dedmon provided a spark early on for the Trojans, scoring five points off the bench in the first three minutes, but was forced off the court when he gained his 4th foul around the 17 minute mark of the 2nd half.

Also for the Trojans, with about 10 minutes left, season leading scorer Eric Wise also picked up his 4th foul which led to a bit of a scare. Both players, though, seemed to stay aggressive. Eventually Dedmon fouled out after a defensive rebound which ended up hurting his team ending with 11 points, all of which came in the second half.

USC eventually took their first lead of the game as part of a 10-0 run to take a 53-51 with 8:45 left in the game.  From that point on it was a back and forth affair.  The shooting woes continued for Stanford as they hit a field goal drought in the middle of the second half which lasted for over eight minutes. Dwight Powell finally ended that drought with at 6:43 left in the second half, which allowed the cardinal to pull to within two points of the Trojans who had the lead at that point.

With 6.9 seconds left to play, Jio Fontan broke the tie when he hit two free throws after he was fouled by Stanford guard Chasson Randle.  On Stanford’s last attempt on offense, the ball went to Randle as he took the ball the length of the court and fired a tough runner from the elbow and missed.  Powell attempted a put back dunk but that also missed and time expired.

Key Points

For the Cardinal, Andy Brown led them in scoring with a career-high 17 points.  Josh Huestis had another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Aaron Bright scored 12 points and Dwight Powell finished the game with 11 points.  The Cardinal struggled in the shooting department again, shooting just 39 percent from the field throughout the game.  The bench also outscored the starters 43 to 26, including 31 to 11 in the first half.

For the Trojans, their big guns came to play, as Jio Fontan finished with 15 points, Eric Wise had 14 points and Dedmon with 11 points. Freshman Chass Bryan also added 10 points in the effort.

In the end, the Cardinal were unable to start conference play off right.  They continued their struggles from the field and as a result a long drought during the second half cost them the game.  Also, a questionable play call at the end of the game to hand the ball to Randle, who had been struggling all game and scored no points in 15 minutes, even with the start.