Jan. 4, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jio Fontan scored 15 points, including a pair of tiebreaking free throws with 6.9 seconds to play and USC pulled out a 71-69 victory over Stanford on Thursday night in the Pac-12 opener for both schools.
USC (6-8, 1-0 Pac-12) trailed for much of the game, rallying from a nine-point halftime deficit and scoring 10 of the game's last 14 points.
Eric Wise added 14 points for USC, which shot 50.9 percent and forced Stanford into 13 turnovers.
Stanford shot 39.0 percent overall but converted on 9-19 from beyond the arc. However, the Cardinal connected on 14-23 free throw attempts after entering the game at 73.7 percent from the charity stripe.
The Cardinal built a 42-33 halftime lead, mainly thanks to a 31-7 edge in bench points over the game's first 20 minutes.
USC chipped away in the second half, grabbing its first lead of the game at 53-51 following a layup from Aaron Fuller with 8:51 remaining.
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NOTES: Stanford shot 51.7 percent in the first half and 26.7 percent in the second half ... The Cardinal held a 36-33 edge in the rebounding department ... Andy Brown was 7-9 from the field, 3-4 from beyond the arc and grabbed five rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench ... Josh Huestis led Stanford in rebounding for the 10th time and has now notched five double-figure rebounding games. Huestis is averaging a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game ... Aaron Bright was 6-6 from the foul line and has made 16 consecutive free throws dating back to Nov. 18 ... John Gage, who added eight points and four rebounds off the bench, is now averaging 7.0 points and shooting 57.1 percent overall and 60.0 percent from three-point territory over the last four games ... Stanford had won two straight Pac-12 openers heading into Thursday's game. The Cardinal is now 18-17 in conference openers (13-6 home, 5-11 on the road) since the 1978-79 campaign ... Stanford lost for the first time this year when leading at halftime.
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Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
"We knew USC would come out in the second half. I talked about that during halftime, though we did a great job of regrouping and building a lead back up. However, they cut the lead and kept fighting and made plays at the end. It was a great conference game. They made some crucial plays at the end and we didn't make the plays we need to make."
"I think we ended up 9-19 from 3-point range. We had seven in the first half and only made two in the second half. That is not our style of play anyway, but they did do a better job in finding our shooters, and I give them credit for that."
"I think we'll look back and when we watch the film, we will see that both teams did a terrific job defensively. If you look back, you will see we had some layups and free throws that we didn't hit. Unfortunately, we had a couple of dunk opportunities right at the basket and a couple of free throws we also didn't make tonight."
"I don't think we should forget about this game but we have to move on. There are some lessons we can learn from this game. I will take the lessons we learn and that will help us improve. This is a long race and it's only one game."
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USC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill
"I'm really proud of our effort. We started the game with no energy. After halftime, we did a great job of guarding them and playing hard. We got contributions from our freshmen. Stanford is a very good team. Obviously the missed dunk at the end was the key or we'd still be playing. We did a good job on free throws and defensively."
"I thought Dewayne Dedmon, when he came back in with four fouls, really took charge of the game. That was good to see. He had great energy. I liked what Chass was bringing us. We got good minutes from Chass and Brendyn. They stepped up and did a good job. I liked how we played. It's something to build on."
"You've got to get sick of losing at some point. We looked more interested in winning than losing tonight. We've come out on the good side of some close games now."