Wed, 21 Apr 2021

USC seeks to regain rhythm vs. Stanford

Field Level Media
03 Mar 2021, 14:19 GMT+10

USC welcomes Stanford to Galen Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday in a critical, Pac-12 Conference matchup in the last week of the regular season.

The Trojans (19-6, 13-5 Pac-12) come in off a two-loss weekend at Colorado and Utah. The setbacks, coupled with a Feb. 20 home loss to Arizona, dropped USC from first place to now trailing UCLA and Oregon in the loss column.

USC's pursuit of at least a share of its first regular-season championship since 1985 hinges on the final week.

The Ducks and Bruins face off on Wednesday, which for Oregon is part of a three-game stretch concluding Sunday at Oregon State. UCLA hosts USC on Saturday.

Before then, USC must rebound from what coach Andy Enfield called "our worst performance, probably of the entire (season)" in his postgame press conference following the 71-61 loss at Utah on Feb. 27.

The Trojans shot just 22-of-59 from the floor and 2-of-13 from behind the 3-point line. Pac-12 Player of the Year contender Evan Mobley went 2-of-7, scoring the bulk of his 11 points at the free-throw line.

"You can't shoot 37 percent from the field, 15 percent from the 3-point line," Enfield said. "They have to play at the level that they played all season. And if they do that next week, we'll be fine."

USC vaulted to the top of the conference last month on the strength of a seven-game winning streak, which included a 72-66 win Feb. 2 at Stanford.

Stanford (14-11, 10-9) visits USC desperate for a marquee win after losing three straight. The Cardinal's NCAA Tournament aspirations took multiple hits, starting Feb. 20 with a triple-overtime loss at Washington State.

Playing with star forward Oscar da Silva, Stanford let a late lead slip away in its 71-68 loss to Oregon on Feb. 25, then dropped a 73-62 decision to Oregon State on Feb. 27.

The Cardinal - playing without da Silva again due to a foot injury - were outscored 40-28 in the second half against Oregon State.

"I don't know the reason we were so disjointed, but we certainly struggled," Cardinal coach Jerod Haase said in his postgame press conference. "We need to try to get mentally and physically fresh down the stretch here."

Stanford slipped to No. 64 in the NCAA NET rankings amid the losing streak. Adding a win over NET No. 25 USC to go with defeats of No. 7 Alabama and a sweep of No. 39 Arizona might revive the Cardinal's NCAA Tournament hopes.

Stanford needs an improved effort on Mobley, who scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the previous matchup.

--Field Level Media

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