USC Upsets Stanford To Advance At Pac-10 Tourney

March 14, 2003

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By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - Southern California added to a day of upsets at the Pac-10 Conference tournament.

UCLA began by shocking No. 1 Arizona, then Oregon beat Arizona State before the Trojans defeated No. 15 Stanford 79-74 in the opening round Thursday night, sending seeds one, two and four home.

'Everybody in this tournament has something to play for,' USC coach Henry Bibby said. 'Stanford was in it to win it and that's the way it should be.'

Desmon Farmer scored 24 points and Roy Smiley added a career-high 20 for the Trojans, who lost to Arizona in the title game last year.

The seventh-seeded Trojans (12-16) lost seven straight games before beating Washington State to close the regular season. The winless stretch cost them a chance to make their case for a spot in the NCAA tournament, and now they must win the conference tournament's automatic berth to get in.

'We got to the free throw line, we crashed the boards, we got the ball inside and we got some easy attempts at the basket,' Bibby said.

The Trojans beat the Cardinal (23-8) in the first round for the second straight year despite losing both regular-season matchups.

'That wasn't what we had in mind, but we got what we deserved,' Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. 'We got ourselves in too big a hole. We lost our defensive intensity and we just can't play like that.'

USC led the entire second half, with its largest lead of 14 points coming on a free throw by Farmer with 11:13 remaining. Farmer and Smiley combined to score 15 consecutive points during a nearly four-minute stretch when the Cardinal's shooting went cold.

The Trojans had a 33-18 advantage in free-throw attempts because of 29 fouls against the Cardinal.

'Makes a big difference in the game,' Bibby said.

Stanford, which finished second to Arizona in the regular-season standings, struggled when 6-foot-9 Justin Davis fouled out and 6-foot-10 Robert Little picked up his fourth foul.

'We didn't move the ball very well,' Montgomery said. 'We need to have an inside game against the zone. It's hard to come back. For us not to have the edge puts us in a tough spot.'

Julius Barnes led Stanford with 18 points and Davis added 15 and 11 rebounds.



USC's Nick Curtis, right, looks for an opening past Stanford's Robert Little during the first half of their first-round win.


Barnes, who had six of Stanford's 18 turnovers, blamed himself.

'It started with me,' he said. 'It's my job as point guard to take care of the ball and I didn't do that. It's not so much pressure that affected us, it was sloppy play on my part.'

The Trojans led 73-65 when the Cardinal scored six straight to get within two with 3:03 remaining. After Gregg Guenther made a free throw for USC, Rory O'Neil, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3-pointer with a second left on the shot clock to keep the Trojans ahead 77-71.

'Des had dribbled up to the corner and I just knocked it down,' O'Neil said.

Matt Lottich answered right back with a 3-pointer as Stanford trailed 77-74 with 1:06 to play. But Lottich and Josh Childress both missed 3-pointers that could have tied the game in the final 30 seconds. Childress finished with 15 points.

'It was a wide-open shot,' Childress said of his miss. 'It's something that has gone in before, but we shouldn't have been in that place.'

Errick Craven made one of four free throws in the final 25 seconds for the Trojans.

Bibby, who's been in trouble with Pac-10 officials most of the season, was hit with a technical foul with his team ahead by 10 points early in the second half. It seemingly sparked Farmer and Smiley, who launched their dominating run right after the call.

Farmer was especially emotional during the game, having been left off the All-Pac-10 team despite being the league's fourth-leading scorer with an 18.4 average.

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