USC men’s basketball entered this game desperately needing a win after its overtime loss to Cal Wednesday night.
The Cardinal had other plans.
Instead, head coach Andy Enfield’s squad found itself in a less severe rendition of the Maples Massacre, UCLA’s 48-point loss to Stanford at Maples Pavilion in 1997.
After an 82-74 home loss to UCLA Wednesday, Stanford displayed a dominant, complete team win Saturday night before a sold-out Cardinal student section, ultimately defeating the Trojans 99-68.
Stanford’s 3-point shooting was the key to this win. The Cardinal shot 50% from beyond the arc, led by fifth-year forward Spencer Jones, who was 5-for-7 from three. And, it wasn’t just Jones lighting it up from downtown. Stanford freshman guard Andrej Stojakovic — son of three-time NBA All-Star Peja Stojakovic — scored 12 of his 20 points from beyond the arc while sophomore guard Benny Gealer shot 67% from three. Stanford saw its most 3-pointers made in a single game Saturday (19).
With this loss, USC remains last in the Pac-12 (9-15 overall, 3-10 conference) while Stanford moves up one spot to sixth (12-11, 7-6). The Trojans continued their misfortune on the road, extending a seven-game road losing streak, their longest since the 2016 season. Before that, USC lost nine consecutive road games in 2015.
Sophomore forward Vincent Iwuchukwu opened the game with a commanding dunk off a pass from freshman guard Bronny James. That was followed by a Stanford turnover that led to another Trojan score, setting the scene for a dominant first half for the Trojans. Or so it seemed.
Stanford answered the call immediately with back-to-back 3-pointers, a true indication of how this game would play out.
Following USC’s quick start, it could not have asked for a worse first half.
Due to sloppy turnovers, missed layups and failed free throws, the Trojans quickly found themselves on the wrong end of a Stanford 25-0 run. In his second game back from a right hand injury, star freshman Isaiah Collier snapped the run with a free throw, but it was not enough to give the Trojans the momentum they needed to get back in the game.
USC especially struggled due to the likes of Stojakovic and junior forward Maxime Raynaud having a field day from the field. The electric duo had 29 points to end the first half, while USC had 26 total.
After the Cardinal closed out the first half with their most points in a first half since 2013 (55), USC needed to make some changes entering the second half.
And, at first, it seemed like whatever Enfield said to his squad at halftime worked. The Trojans displayed a better second-half performance on both ends of the ball, converting more of their offensive chances. USC saw some momentum with a 10-2 run midway through the second half and a James monster slam off a Stanford turnover. The Trojans also locked down their defense, forcing Stanford into seven second-half turnovers.
But, the pattern remained, and Stanford responded to every Trojan effort with some noise of its own. The Trojans just could not catch a break, making less than 45% of their field goals and just 6 of 20 attempts from three.
Enfield turned to his bench throughout this game – namely sophomore forward Kijani Wright, junior guard Kobe Johnson and freshman forward Arrinten Page – which provided much-needed electricity to this Trojan squad. Yet, any attempts by USC to claw its way back into the game were promptly quenched by an aggressive Stanford team.
Raynaud led the Cardinals with 25 points and nine rebounds. For the Trojans, Collier had 18 points, while star guard Boogie Ellis had a quiet night with just seven points.
The Trojans will return to Galen Center on Thursday to take on Utah at 8 p.m. with hopes of turning their season around.