The USC men’s basketball team lost its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, falling to the Stanford Cardinal (17-8, 7-6) 59-47. USC’s defeat was their 20th of the season, the first time the Trojans have lost at least 20 games since 1989, when they finished 10-22.
For the second time in four days, the Trojans (6-20, 1-12) played a competitive first 20 minutes but were unable to keep up with their opponents in the second half.
USC trailed 20-18 going into the break after forcing 10 turnovers and holding Stanford to an 8-24 shooting performance. But the Trojans didn’t fare any better, shooting 7-24 (29 percent) in the first half and 15-48 (31 percent) for the game. They were outscored 39-29 in the second half of play.
“We played pretty hard, but when you’re not making, you’re not making,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “When you force 18 turnovers and basically hold them to 40 percent shooting, that’s enough to win only if you score.”
USC received 13 points apiece from junior guard Greg Allen and freshman forward Byron Wesley. Wesley, however, was just 1-6 from the floor after pacing the Trojans with 10 early points.
“They made defensive changes,” Wesley said. “They switched to zone in the second half. That slowed me down a bit.”
USC’s leading scorer of the season, sophomore guard Maurice Jones, struggled offensively, finishing 2-14 and 6-7 at the free throw line en route to 10 points.
“Mo’s shots when he’s at the point are not nearly as good of shots for him when he’s off the ball,” O’Neill said. “He had a lot of wide-open looks that didn’t go down. The guy’s got to be fatigued, let’s face it, playing that amount of minutes all year long as a sophomore.”
Stanford was led by freshman guard Chasson Randle’s 16 points, while senior forward Josh Owens added 15 points and five rebounds of his own. Coach Johnny Dawkins utilized his entire roster on Sunday, as Owens was the only Cardinal player on the court for more than 30 minutes.
USC, meanwhile, had six players with at least 20 minutes of playing time, a point O’Neill made after the game.
“Every one of these guys is playing too many minutes,” O’Neill said. “They’re doing as well as they can.”
The Trojans have two days to prepare for their cross-town rivals, the UCLA Bruins, whom they will face Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins (14-11, 7-6) lost their previous game on Feb. 11 to the Cal Golden Bears, 73-63.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.