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Stanford returns from COVID break to beat No. 5 USC 75-69

Stanford returns from COVID break to beat No. 5 USC 75-69

Harrison Ingram and Spencer Jones scored 21 points apiece and Stanford beat No. 5 Southern California 75-69 Tuesday for its first win over a top five team in nearly 15 years.

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The Cardinal (9-4, 2-1 Pac-12) returned from a nearly three-week break for COVID-19 protocols and delivered a big win in a nearly empty arena. Stanford had lost 14 straight games against teams in the top five of the AP poll since beating No. 3 UCLA 75-68 on Jan. 28, 2007.

Isaiah Mobley scored 16 points to lead the Trojans and Boogie Ellis added 14.

The Trojans (13-1, 3-1) were looking to tie the 2016-17 team for the school’s best start in more than 50 years but came up short at the end against Stanford. The loss leaves No. 1 Baylor as the only unbeaten team remaining in the country.

Noah Taitz hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half to give Stanford a 50-49 lead. The game remained tight from there until Stanford started to open it up late.

Stanford forward James Keefe (22) defends as Southern California guard Ethan Anderson (20) aims for the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.
(AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

James Keefe tied the game with a layup with 3:50 to go, starting an 8-2 run that gave the Cardinal a 70-66 lead on two free throws from Ingram with 1:18 to play.

USC missed six of seven shots and three free throws over the final five minutes.

Jones sealed it with a layup against the press with 7.5 seconds to play to make it 74-68.

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BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans had won 20 straight games against in-state competition since an overtime loss to UCLA on Feb. 28, 2019. But they were never able to build a cushion against the Cardinal and came up short.

Stanford: The Cardinal missed eight of nine shots during a stretch in the first half and trailed by seven before scoring the final six points before the break to make it 33-32. That was about the only signs of rust they showed in their return to action.

COVID PROTOCOLS

Stanford returned to the court for the first time since beating Liberty on Dec. 23 in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.

The Cardinal went into COVID protocol before the championship game of that tournament against Vanderbilt and then had games against California and UCLA postponed earlier this month. This contest was originally scheduled for Saturday before being moved back three days.

The Trojans played their second since nearly a three-week break for COVID protocols. They beat Cal 77-64 last Thursday in Berkeley.

The game was played in front of only a handful of fans as Stanford has limited attendance to family members only because of the spike in coronavirus cases.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Trojans moved up to No. 5 in the AP poll this week, their highest ranking in the regular season since also being ranked fifth on Dec. 30, 1974. The stay shouldn’t last long after this loss.

UP NEXT

USC: Host Oregon State on Thursday.

Stanford: Visit Washington State on Thursday.

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