USC Basketball vs. Stanford Score, Summary: Trojans escape with win

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15: Jordan McLaughlin
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15: Jordan McLaughlin /

USC Basketball escaped with a revenge victory over Stanford at the Galen Center on Wednesday night, winning a nailbiter 69-64.

The lowdown:

Jonah Mathews led the way scoring, while Jordan McLaughlin’s hot-and-cold finish saw out a nervy 69-64 victory over Stanford.

Nick Rakocevic opened the scoring and USC’s advantage under the basket was their greatest weapon early as 10 of their first 11 points were in the paint.

On the defensive end, the Trojans gave up some early fouls, with one Reid Travis and-one miss leading to a four-point trip. However, USC forced six early turnovers as they took control of the game.

After Dorian Pickens knocked down an open three to pull the Cardinal within four at 12-8, McLaughlin threw down a dunk to launch the Galen Center crowd out of their seats.

A seventh Stanford turnover sent Derryck Thonton on the fastbreak, cutting the Cardinal defense with a pass to Jordan Usher in a tight window. The freshman adjusted in time to hit the layup, making it 21-12 at the ten minute mark.

Mathews’ three-pointer capped a 12-0 run to give USC their largest lead of the half at 28-12.

Daejon Davis, the freshman who broke USC’s heart in Palo Alto with a game-winning buzzer beater, knocked down a three-pointer to cut into the lead with five minutes remaining in the half.

Still, it was another triple from Mathews with one minute left and an Elijah Stewart layup which had the Trojans in command at the half, leading 41-26.

Rakocevic again posted the first points of the period, getting loose under the basket.

McLaughlin provided another highlight play, juking a Stanford defender to the floor before calmly swishing his first three-pointer of the night.

From that point, however, the Cardinal surged, riding a 10-2 run to cut USC’s lead down to 48-41.

Chimezie Metu’s sweet spin move and dunk, followed by a Mathews driving layup restored the lead to double-digits for a moment.

Still, the Trojans hadn’t found a way to put away the Cardinal by the midway point in the half when Stanford trimmed the deficit to just seven.

USC generally struggled from beyond the arc on the night, but Mathews at least was able to sink them from distance. His fourth of the night boosted the Trojans back into a 10 point lead, but it was quickly answered by Oscar Da Silva from Stanford at 57-64 with four minutes to go.

After several attempts to cut USC’s lead under seven, Stanford finally made the breakthrough with under two minutes left as Michael Humphrey hit a three to make it 66-62.

A failed Trojan possession saw get the chance to Davis draw a foul with 30 seconds left. He hit two free throws to cut it down to two points.

The final seconds were all about McLaughlin. The senior hit one free throw to extend the lead to three, but missed his second, giving Stanford a second life.

McLaughlin took it back, literally, stealing a pass as the Cardinal looked to pull off another miracle. However, that wasn’t the end of it. Fouled after his steal, McLaughlin went back to the line and missed both free throw attempts.

His miscue went unpunished, however. Davis couldn’t replicate his heroics from two weeks ago, missing a three-point shot which allowed USC to get out with the victory.

By the numbers:

  • USC shot 46 percent from the field but 25 percent from distance.
  • Mathews led all scorers with 18 points.
  • Stanford missed four of their first five free throw attempts. USC missed three of their last four attempts.
  • USC had 32 points in the paint in the first half, out of 41 total.
  • McLaughlin moved into 10th place all-time on the Pac-12 assist charts. He posted nine on the night.

Player of the game: Jonah Mathews, whose scoring contributions included a 4-of-6 mark from three-point range.

Next on tap: The home stand continues on Sunday Jan. 28 as the Trojans take on the 7-13 Cal Bears at the Galen Center. Tip off is at 1:00 p.m.