Second half spurs men’s basketball to victory

Feb. 8, 2015, 11:16 p.m.

A strong second half propelled the Stanford men’s basketball team to eke out a win against the reeling USC Trojans on Sunday night at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) defeated USC (9-14, 1-10) by a score of 70-62. Chasson Randle led the team with 17 points, and Stanford saw all five of its starters score in double figures despite one of the team’s weaker shooting performances this year.

On a night where Randle and fellow go-to shooter Anthony Brown shot a cumulative 28 percent from the field, Stanford had to find other ways to get it done. Luckily, it was a night in which head coach Johnny Dawkins could rely on his team to shoot free throws. The Cardinal shot 80 percent from the line, a major advantage over USC’s 38 percent, which came from a meager eight shots.

“We went back to the huddle and we talked about it being a team win, and it was,” Dawkins said. “You had a night when Chasson wasn’t at his best and neither was Anthony, and you had guys step up. That’s what it’s about.”

Marcus Allen notched his first career double-double, propelling Stanford to the victory. (BOB DREBIN/

A big reason that the Cardinal were able to overcome the poor shooting was a dominating night on the glass. Stanford outrebounded USC by a margin of 50-35, and perhaps the most surprising statistic of the night was 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Marcus Allen leading the team with 11 boards. It was the first double-double of Allen’s collegiate career.

“Picking the energy up on defense, trying to get stops, get deflections,” said Allen regarding his role in the victory. “Just small things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, whether it’s rebounding, making the extra pass, getting the guys all energized and hyped up.”

Just a few days after Stanford was defeated on its home court after falling into a large hole against UCLA, the team struggled through an inconsistent first half. The Cardinal were up 27-20 with 6:29 left in the half before a 13 point swing brought USC to a 39-33 lead at the half.

However, Stanford pulled away in the second half with tight defense and the aforementioned clutch free-throw shooting. USC frequently went minutes without a field goal, and Stanford was able to draw fouls and get into the bonus very early.

“Our defense in the second half was probably as good as it’s been all year,” Dawkins said. “I think that’s how we won the game. To shoot 37 percent from the field and still win: the only way you can pull that off is by being focused defensively, and I thought our guys were.”

One of the game’s most telling moments came with 7:28 remaining, with USC leading by a score of 55-54. Coming out of a timeout, Anthony Brown hit a three to put the Cardinal up 2, and Stanford didn’t relinquish the lead after that.

The Trojans may also not have had the best shooting night, but they were able to control the game in the first half due to solid performances from their star players. Sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt led USC with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin added 18 points to go along with 7 assists and 5 steals.

“We missed a couple easy shots, a couple shots in the lane, and we also missed a couple open threes,” said USC head coach Andy Enfield. “To beat a good team on the road you have to make shots — we did that in the first half and we had the lead.”

With this win, the Cardinal completed their season sweep of the Trojans. They had previously beaten USC on Jan. 11 in a close 78-76 game.

After hosting both Los Angeles teams and splitting the games, Stanford will now hit the road, taking on No. 13 Utah (18-4, 8-2) this Thursday in what will prove to be one of its toughest games of the season.

Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’

Sandip Srinivas '18 is the Football Editor, a sports desk editor and a beat writer for men's basketball and football at The Stanford Daily. Sandip is a sophomore from Belmont, California that roots for the San Francisco Giants during even years and roots for Steph Curry year-round. He is majoring in Symbolic Systems and can be contacted via email at sandips 'at'

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