USC KOs Stanford, 103-78
March 7, 2002
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - As if Southern California wasn't playing well enoughalready, its backups came in and didn't let up.
Playing at a frenetic pace, the 22nd-ranked Trojans built a 23-point lead inthe first half and never looked back, beating No. 16 Stanford 103-78 Thursdaynight in the first round of the Pacific-10 tournament.
'It's probably one of the best offensive games we've played all year,' USCcoach Henry Bibby said. 'We were making shots and everything was workingoffensively for us.'
The Trojans shot 55 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the foulline.
It was USC's third victory over the Cardinal (19-9) this season. The Trojanswon the first meeting by eight points in Los Angeles, then won the second by 19points in Stanford's worst loss at home since 1993.
'We made shots in all three games we played them,' Bibby said. 'Wecreated situations that put a lot of pressure on them and forced them to makedecisions.'
Sam Clancy led five USC players in double figures with 25 points. He wasvoted the Pac-10 player of the year Wednesday.
Brandon Granville added 20 points and 11 assists, reserve Desmon Farmer 19points, David Bluthenthal 17 points, and reserve Jerry Dupree 10 points.
After USC starting guard Errick Craven got in foul trouble in the firsthalf, the Trojans didn't miss a beat. Dupree came in and scored eight points in12 minutes. Farmer also came off the bench to score 10 points in 12 minutes.
'The bench came in and really set the tone,' Clancy said. 'That's thetype of effort we're going to need from them the rest of the tournament. It'sfun to see guys come off the bench and get in the flow, both offensively anddefensively.'
The fourth-seeded Trojans (21-8) will play top-seeded Oregon in Friday'ssemifinals at Staples Center. The Ducks (23-7) defeated eighth-seededWashington 86-64 earlier Thursday.
The Ducks swept USC this season, including a 67-65 victory on a last-secondrunner by Frederick Jones last Saturday in Los Angeles.
'Oregon stole two from us and we're coming to get one back,' Clancy said.
Casey Jacobsen and Curtis Borchardt each scored 17 points to leadfifth-seeded Stanford, which added to its history of blowout losses in thetournament.
Before the tournament took a 12-year break in 1990, Stanford lost to Arizonaby 22 points in the 1989 final, and by 24 points to Arizona in the 1990semifinals.
USC's 25-point victory was one shy of the tournament record for largestwinning margin, set by Arizona in a 93-67 win over Oregon in 1988.
'We had no answers for SC. They were the aggressor, physical, quick,'Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. 'They're the better team and I don'tthink there's any question about that.'
Stanford shot 38 percent and committed 19 turnovers in the game.
'They were everywhere on offense and defense,' Borchardt said. 'Theyweren't just more aggressive, they were the better team.'
Borchardt, the 7-footer who led the conference in rebounding and shotblocking, had 14 rebounds as Stanford controlled the boards, 51-31.
Jacobsen, the Pac-10's leading scorer with a 22.2-point average, got histhird foul with 10:55 remaining. His only 3-pointer didn't come until there was5:54 to go.
The teams were tied four times in the opening 14 minutes before USC brokethe game open by shooting 67 percent in the first half. The Trojans outscoredthe Cardinal 31-9 to take a 45-23 lead with 3:43 remaining.
USC hit four of its seven 3-pointers in the spurt, including two byBluthenthal, who had nine points in the run. Stanford struggled on 38 percentshooting in the half, when Jacobsen was just 3-of-9 from the floor.
'We had a lot of open shots in the first half that we didn't make,'Montgomery said. 'It gets old, it gets tiring. It wears you down mentally.SC's tempo bothers us. It speeds us up and gets us out of sorts.'
After trailing 52-35 at the break, Stanford never got closer than 13 pointsin the second half. Clancy scored USC's first seven points of the half, and theTrojans spent much of the final 20 minutes at the foul line.
Leading 65-51, USC ran off 13 consecutive points to take a 78-51 lead with10:02 remaining. Except for Bluthenthal's 3-pointer, all the Trojans' pointscame at the free-throw line. Granville went 4-for-4, and Farmer 3-for-4.
'It's disappointing,' Montgomery said. 'I thought we could compete betterthan that, but once we get back on our heels we have a tough time comingback.'