Friday , Feb , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Still perfect: Stanford beats USC

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Josh Childress poured in a career-high 36
points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading top-ranked Stanford to a 76-67 victory
over Southern California at the Sports Arena.

Matt Lottich added 20 points for the Cardinal (22-0, 13-0 Pac-10), who played
for the first time since earning the No. 1 ranking earlier this week. Stanford
needed to rally from a halftime deficit to remain one of two unbeaten Division
I teams, joining Saint Joseph’s, and needs only a win Saturday at UCLA to wrap
up the regular season conference title.

Jeff McMillan led Southern California with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while
Rory O’Neil added 14 points. The Trojans (10-13, 5-9) have lost four of their
last five.

A layup by McMillan with just over three minutes left tied the game at 65-65,
but Childress then took over. He answered with a three-pointer and a layup to
give the Cardinal a five-point edge.

Two free throws pulled Southern California within three, but a layup by Joe
Kirchofer with 50 seconds to play again gave Stanford a five-point cushion.

Errick Craven missed at the other end and Childress pulled down the rebound.
Chris Hernandez was fouled and made both free throws with 31 seconds left.
Another Childress rebound off a missed three-pointer by O’Neil led to a pair
of free throws to put the game away.

Childress made all nine of his free throws and Stanford finished 13-of-16 from
the stripe.

“That was a tough one,” said Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery said. “That
wasn’t us at our best, but we fought, we battled and we made plays when we had
to.”

Stanford trailed 36-28 at the break after scoring the final five points of the
first half, then opened the second half with an 18-4 run.

Lottich scored seven during the burst and hit a three-pointer that put the
Cardinal ahead at 43-40. Childress added a three-point play to make it a six-
point game just over five minutes into the second half.

Four straight points pulled the Trojans within 46-44, but Childress and
Lottich combined for all the points in a 9-0 Cardinal run. Childress’ layup
with 10:50 remaining gave Stanford a 55-44 cushion.

Southern California was able to chip away and pulled within 57-54 on a bucket
by O’Neil with 8:17 left. Lottich then followed with a three-pointer, but six
straight points for the Trojans tied it at 60-60.

It remained tight for the next few minutes until Stanford was able to pull
away.

“I’m proud of our guys and the way they fought,” said Southern California head
coach Henry Bibby. “They are the best team in the country and we had a chance
to win.”

Stanford has won five games when trailing at halftime this season, including
the first meeting with Southern California at Maples Pavilion. The Trojans led
that game 34-28, but the Cardinal opened the second half with a 14-4 run on
the way to a 77-67 victory.

Southern California held a 9-7 lead and scored the next nine points to open
some breathing room. Desmon Farmer hit a pair of three-pointers during the run
and a free throw by Craven capped it to give the Trojans an 18-7 advantage.

The Cardinal responded and pulled within 20-19 on a pair of Lottich free
throws with just over eight minutes left.

A Derrick Craven jumper then ignited an 11-0 run for Southern California.
Lodrick Stewart drained a three-pointer to finish the burst, giving the
Trojans a 31-19 cushion with 3:07 remaining in the half.

A three by O’Neil made it 36-23 moments later, but Stanford scored the final
five points to head to the intermission down 36-28.

USC STANFORD