GAME NOTES: The USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal will open their respective Pac-12 Conference schedules tonight, as the two are set to square off at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Stanford has won two straight and five of its last six outings. Most recently, the Cardinal notched a 65-59 win over Lafayette last Saturday. Following this tilt, they'll head across town to tangle with the UCLA Bruins on Saturday.
USC has struggled to a 5-8 record, but the team is coming off a 63-61 overtime victory against Dayton on Sunday. That contest began a three-game homestand for the Trojans, who will also host California this Saturday. So far, they have not been able to capitalize on an early-season schedule that has them playing nine of their first 15 games at the Galen Center.
USC owns a narrow 121-120 edge over Stanford in the all-time series.
Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins has started 10 different players in the team's first 13 games, but he may not want to do any more tinkering after the way his starters played together against Lafayette. Sophomore guard Chasson Randle led the way with 16 points in the victory, while freshman Rosco Allen also cracked the starting lineup and scored nine of his season-high 11 points in the final five minutes. Down low, Josh Huestis (eight points, three blocks) had 14 rebounds and Dwight Powell (nine points, three steals) pulled down 11 boards. It marked the first time in almost two years the Cardinal had two players with 10 rebounds or more in the same game. Powell paces the squad with 14.5 ppg on the season to go along with 7.2 rpg. Randle is averaging 13.8 ppg, while Huestis is posting 9.3 points and a team-best 8.9 caroms per contest.
The Trojans shot just 35.6 percent from the floor on Sunday afternoon, but they held Dayton to 34.5 percent. Eric Wise tallied a season-high 19 points in the win, while Aaron Fuller notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Dewayne Dedmon rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points. UD's Devin Oliver forced overtime with a game-tying layup as time expired in regulation. However, Fuller gave the Trojans the lead in overtime on a pair of free throws, and followed it up with a put-back on a miss for a 59-55 lead, which USC would not relinquish. The Trojans have struggled to find some offensive consistency throughout the season, as Wise is the only player averaging double figures with his 11.4 ppg.
Stanford has picked up its play entering the Pac-12 schedule, while the Trojans have been largely hit or miss from night to night. Still, don't pencil in an automatic win for the visitors, as this will be only the third true road game of the year for the Cardinal.