Jan 26, 2002
LOS ANGELES (AP) - It was late in the first half, and Stanford was putting it to Southern California when point guard Brandon Granville made eye contact with Trojans coach Henry Bibby.
"Coach looked at me and said, `Do we need to press?"' Granville said. "I said, `I'm up for anything. Let's try it. What'll it hurt?"'
The Cardinal, that's what.
USC's pressure defense was the key as the 23rd-ranked Trojans beat No. 17 Stanford 90-82 on Saturday to remain tied atop the Pacific-10 Conference standings halfway through their league schedule.
Sam Clancy had 24 points, 13 rebounds and four steals, and freshmen Errick Craven and Rory O'Neil played key roles in the second half for USC, which snapped a four-game losing streak to Stanford at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Including five straight wins at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, Stanford had won nine straight against the Trojans and Bruins in Los Angeles.
"We have lots of different defenses we throw at people, and the press was the one that worked today," Bibby said. "The last few games, we walked the ball up the floor. We wanted to increase the tempo today, so we changed it.
"Stanford is a team that doesn't play against the press a lot, so we thought we had to change it."
The strategy worked to perfection.
"We had 27 turnovers, they got 31 points off turnovers, that's all that need be said," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "We had a fundamental breakdown.
"We had difficulty guarding Clancy. That opened it up for O'Neil, who really hurt us."
O'Neil made 7-for-8 shots to score a career-high 14 points before fouling out, and Craven had 18 points and five of his team's 16 steals.
USC committed only 10 turnovers.
Craven capped his effort with a big 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to give the Trojans (15-4, 7-2) an eight-point lead.
Desmon Farmer scored 15 points for USC, which rallied from a 13-point deficit late in the first half to win for the 11th time in 13 games.
Casey Jacobsen led Stanford (12-5, 5-3) with 21 points - all but five in the second half. He also had seven rebounds and six assists, but committed seven turnovers.
None of his teammates scored more than 11.
"I don't know what happened," Jacobsen said regarding the turnovers. "Let's give USC credit, they're one of the most athletic teams you'll see. They made the court feel very small."
Stanford's Curtis Borchardt, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots, didn't play because of a strained stomach muscle.
He said he hurt himself during the jump ball at the beginning of his team's 86-76 victory at UCLA on Thursday night, and the injury tightened as the game went on, although he kept playing.
"I just couldn't run or jump or do anything with my stomach," Borchardt said.
He tried to work through the injury in pregame warmups, but informed Montgomery about 10 minutes before the opening tipoff that he couldn't go.
Although Borchardt's inside presence was clearly missed, Stanford outrebounded USC 42-28.
"We missed him," Jacobsen said of Borchardt. "Can I use the injury as an excuse? It's not.
"The story of this game was the turnovers their pressure caused us, the lack of toughness we showed, not Curtis not being there."
Craven's three-point play with 6:27 remaining triggered an 8-0 run to give the Trojans a 72-65 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way.
Two free throws by Rob Little and another pair by Jacobsen made it 75-72 with 1:57 remaining, but Clancy scored from underneath 20 seconds later.
After an offensive foul by Julius Barnes, Craven hit his big 3-pointer to make it 80-72, and Granville made eight free throws in the final 45 seconds to enable the Trojans to remain safely ahead.
Stanford scored seven straight points - five by Tony Giovacchini - to take a 35-22 lead. The Trojans turned up their defense at that stage, and it sparked them to an 8-2 run that made it 37-30 at halftime.
Jacobsen made two 3-pointers, giving him 196 in his career. He has combined with brothers Adam, who went to Pacific, and Brock, who went to San Diego, for 599 3-pointers - most by a family in NCAA history.
The Jacobsen brothers entered tied with Brendan and Kevin McCarthy, who combined to make 597 3-pointers while playing at St. Anselm College and New Hampshire College, respectively.
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer