Feb 22, 2002
Stanford, Calif. - With the Pac-10 regular season nearing an end, the conference race doesn't seem to be getting any clearer. Tenth-ranked Stanford and No. 25 UCLA will try to straighten it out a bit when they meet at Maples Pavilion on Saturday.
Five teams are within one game of each other for the conference lead. Stanford (17-7, 10-5) is one game behind league-leading Oregon and Southern California, while UCLA (17-9, 9-6) sits two games back.
Playing for a share of first place on Thursday, Stanford suffered its worst loss at Maples Pavilion since the 1992-93 season, falling to Southern Cal 77-58. The loss ended the Cardinal's four-game winning streak.
"We just didn't compete," Stanford forward Teyo Johnson said. "The ball was bouncing their way, but we were just stagnant. It was obvious to everybody in the arena."
While All-American swingman Casey Jacobsen scored 23 points, and center Curtis Borchardt added 10, the Cardinal were held to their second-lowest point total of the season. Stanford has scored fewer than 70 points just three times this season.
"There wasn't any mystery to that one," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said after the USC loss. "The team that wanted this more won, and deserved to win."
With just three regular-season games remaining, the Cardinal will be looking to build up some momentum before beginning postseason play.
UCLA will also be trying to re-establish some momentum. The Bruins have lost three of their last four, including a 69-51 defeat to California on Thursday.
Senior center Dan Gadzuric had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins, but UCLA shot just 3-of-18 from 3-point range and committed 21 turnovers.
To make matters worse, the Bruins lost senior forward Matt Barnes, who was ejected after committing a flagrant foul on Cal guard Shantay Legans. Barnes, who is averaging 13.4 points, will serve a one-game suspension.
While the Bruins will miss Barnes' contributions on Saturday, Gadzuric has provided an offensive spark of late. Now with six double-doubles this season, Gadzuric on Thursday joined leading-scorer Jason Kapono as the only two players to lead the Bruins in scoring in three straight games since the 1998-99 season.
UCLA leads the all-time series with Stanford 123-82, but the Cardinal beat the Bruins 86-76 on Jan. 24.
By RICK HAGGERTY