Pac-10 action pits Trojans against Cardinal
Stanford, CA (Sports Network) – The 25th-ranked USC Trojans have been
one of the Pac-10’s most surprising teams, and they are set to take on
the Stanford Cardinal tonight.
With wins in two straight outings and four of the last five, USC has managed
to improve to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in league play. The only loss over
the last five outings came to national powerhouse UCLA by one point, and
the Trojans have beaten both Oregon and Arizona. On Saturday, a strong
defensive effort led to a 58-49 decision over Arizona State.
Like USC, Stanford has recorded victories in four of its last five games to
improve to 12-5 overall and 4-3 in conference action. On Saturday,
the Cardinal knocked off Oregon State by a 67-56 margin, and the 56 points
allowed marked the team’s best defensive effort since late November.
Stanford has won four of the last five meetings with USC, enabling the
Cardinal to even the all-time series at 114-114.
There is no question that USC’s Nick Young is one of the best players in
the conference, as he is scoring 17.2 ppg on 54.1 percent shooting from the
floor, including 46.8 percent from three-point range. Lodrick Stewart is
netting 13.9 ppg for the Trojans, and Taj Gibson rounds out a strong trio
with 13.0 ppg and 9.1 rpg. The Trojans have played tremendous defense
through 20 games, as they are limiting opponents to just 60.5 ppg on 35.4
percent shooting from the field. USC shot a mere 37.5 percent from the
floor against Arizona State on Saturday, but the Trojans limited the Sun
Devils to a 36.5 percent effort. Another key to the win was that USC earned
a 22-4 edge in points from the foul line. Young scored 18 points for the
Trojans, and Gibson pitched in 11 points and eight rebounds.
Stanford is scoring 69.4 ppg this season while limiting opponents to 65.5
ppg on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Cardinal are outrebounding
foes by nearly six boards per outing, another key to the team’s success.
Lawrence Hill leads the club with 15.5 ppg on 53.5 percent shooting from the
field, and he is pulling down 6.3 rpg as well. Anthony Goods checks in with
13.2 ppg, and Robin Lopez adds 10.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 41 blocked shots. Hill
was tremendous in the win over Oregon State last time out, as he tallied 24
points on the strength of a 5-of-9 showing from the foul line. Goods
contributed 16 points, and Brook Lopez managed 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Cardinal made good on 55.3 percent of their field goal attempts in
that clash and limited the Beavers to 37.7 percent overall shooting. A 16-5
advantage in points from the foul line also helped the cause.