USC (11-13) at Stanford (15-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Maples Pavilion (7,392) -- Stanford, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USC 8-5, Stanford 10-2. Away Record: USC 2-6, Stanford 3-5. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, Stanford 2-2. Conference Record: USC 6-5, Stanford 6-5. Series Record: USC leads 122-120.
GAME NOTES: Two teams seeking an upward move in the conference standings get together at Maples Pavilion on Thursday, as the Stanford Cardinal play host to the USC Trojans in Pac-12 action.
Johnny Dawkins' Cardinal enters this contest off a 62-59 road win at Arizona State last Saturday. Stanford has now won four of its last five games to move to 6-5 in Pac-12 play. The team is a solid 10-2 at home this season.
The Trojans have also played a better brand of basketball of late, coinciding with interim coach Bob Cantu taking over the reins. USC has won three straight games for the first time this season and despite a sub par 11-13 overall mark, sits exactly where Stanford is in-conference at 6-5. USC enters this game off a 71-60 victory over Washington last weekend.
USC holds a narrow 122-120 advantage in the all-time series with Stanford and is seeking the regular-season sweep after earning a 71-69 victory in the conference opener at the Galen Center on Jan. 3.
The Trojans are averaging just 66.2 ppg this season, but have upped that to just over 70 points per game in conference play. The team lacks a prolific scorer that can take over a game, but does have some depth with three players currently boasting of double-digit scoring averages. Senior forward Eric Wise leads the team with 12.3 ppg. Junior guard J.T. Terrell has elevated his play of late and is now averaging 10.6 ppg, while sophomore guard Byron Wesley chimes in with 10.3 ppg. Jio Fontan is just under that with 9.4 ppg, but he is much more vital to USC as a facilitator, tied for second in the conference in assists with 5.1 per game.
USC scored the first seven points of the game and never trailed in the win over Washington last weekend. Terrell led the way offensively with 18 points., thanks in large part to four 3-pointers. Wise joined him in double figures with 12 points. The Trojans shot .533 from the floor in the first half to build a double-digit lead at halftime and simply held the Huskies at bay the rest of the way.
It may have looked like a low-scoring affair, but Stanford certainly made the most of its opportunities in the 3-point win over Arizona State. The Cardinal drilled 10-of-18 3-point attempts and got 22 points and 10 rebounds from Dwight Powell in the win. Josh Huestis also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards, while John Gage added 11 points off the bench.
The shooting efficiency was a bit out of the ordinary for Stanford, which comes into this contest averaging 69.8 ppg on a mere .412 shooting, including just a .351 mark from behind the arc. The 6-foot-10 Powell has been a force up front though with 15.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-7 Huestis is strong down low as well, netting 9.8 ppg, while leading the team in both rebounding (9.4 rpg) and blocked shots (51). Chasson Randle gives the team perimeter balance with 13.6 ppg from his guard position.
USC has not exactly traveled well, although the Trojans have played with some new life under Cantu. Still, Maples Pavilion gives the Cardinal a big advantage and with Huestis and Powell delivering up front, another Stanford win is likely.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 67, USC 62
02/14 10:31:57 ET