GAME NOTES: The Galen Center in Los Angeles is the site for Sunday's Pac-12 Conference matchup between the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans.
Stanford did not receive a warm welcome to City of Angels on Thursday night, as it was dismissed by the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion, 91-74. The Cardinal had won three straight prior to the setback and are currently 12-6 overall and an even 3-3 in conference play. They will contend with top-ranked Arizona next.
USC took down California on Thursday, 77-69, to earn its first league win and end a five-game losing streak. The Trojans are hovering just above .500 overall (10-9), including an 8-2 ledger on their home floor. They will be on the road against Oregon State and Oregon in their next two games.
A series sweep last season for USC allowed it to climb ahead in the all-time series with Stanford, 122-120.
The Cardinal were dominated in the paint, where they were outscored by a 46-12 margin by UCLA. They also had a sizable deficit in points off turnovers (22-1), while shooting just 38.6 percent from the floor. Dwight Powell (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Josh Huestis (12 points, 12 rebounds) each had double-doubles in the losing effort.
As a team, Stanford ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in both scoring (76.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.485). Chasson Randle (19.2 ppg) is the team's top offensive weapon, as he ranks third in the conference in scoring. Randle had a rare off night against UCLA, netting 14 points on only 3-of-16 shooting. On the season, he is hitting 49.8 percent from the floor, including an even 40 percent from 3-point range. Powell (14.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Huestis (10.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) form a rather impressive frontline for the Cardinal, who also get strong contributions from Anthony Brown (13.2 ppg).
Nikola Jovanovic scored a game-high 23 points to lead USC past California on Thursday. The Trojans sank 51.9 percent of their total shots while holding the Golden Bears to just 39.3 percent. They also recorded assists on 18 of their 28 field goals.
USC sits near the bottom of the Pac-12 in terms of offensive production, ranking 11th in scoring (71.9 ppg) and ninth in field goal percentage (.450). Byron Wesley (16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) is the leading scorer for Andy Enfield's squad, as well as the top rebounder, despite making his living in the backcourt. Wesley struggled to get 14 points against Cal, as he made good on only 6-of-15 attempts from the floor. Pe'Shon Howard (9.9 ppg, 4.3 apg) is the next best scoring threat and is coming off a 12-point, 10-assist effort against California. Omar Oraby (8.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.5 bpg) can't be ignored, especially on defense as he is second in the league in blocked shots.
Even though USC has proven to be a much tougher team at home than on the road, Stanford should bounce back in this contest, especially if Randle can return to form, and Huestis and Powell keep Oraby busy down low.
Game Date and Time