Nothing went right for USC basketball against Stanford Thursday night as the Trojans were thoroughly beaten by the Cardinal in a lackluster performance.
The lowdown: USC’s road woes were in full effect in the first half.
The Trojans started out 0-for-5 from the field as both teams struggled to generate offense in the opening minutes at Maples Pavilion. However, the Cardinal took control when Dorian Pickens exploded from distance, hitting four of his first five three attempts in the half.
Though Elijah Stewart and Katin Reinhardt, whose starting job was given to the aforementioned Stewart, pitched in two threes each, the usually reliable scoring trio of Jordan McLaughlin, Julian Jacobs and Bennie Boatwright were noticeably absent.
The three combined to go 0-for-12 in the first half and Stanford entered the break with a commanding 43-25 lead.
That lead would remain through the second half.
Malik Martin entered to give the Trojans some life, slamming home a dunk, while Chimezie Metu pitched in with greater emphasis on contributing from the paint. However, USC’s defense could not contend with the Cardinal, who outpaced every Trojan advance.
Stanford walked away with the 84-64 victory.
The takeaway: USC looks like a different team on the road, so in some ways the performance against Stanford was somewhat unsurprisingly. Still, the Trojans were particularly lacking on the defensive end against a Stanford team which normally averages just 69 points per game.
On a night when USC’s shooting was off from the beginning, energy was low across the board and the Cardinal enjoyed a sharp-shooting night, there was little positive to take for the Trojans.
Now Andy Enfield’s squad faces the tough prospect of salvaging the road trip by besting Cal, who has yet to lose at home this season, as their NCAA tournament prospects continue to slide.
Player of the game: Dorian Pickens; 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Stat of the game: Stanford hit more threes in the first half than USC hit field goals.
Next on tap: USC’s final conference road game comes against Cal (19-8) on February 28.