The View from Press Row: Pac-10 Quarterfinal

The first half was an inspirational display, for Stanford to surge ahead of USC in their hometown on the back of several big contributions off the bench. Then the Cardinal slid in the second half and overtime, as Anthony Goods tired, the defense made mistakes, the offense sputtered, free throws missed and turnovers turned momentum. Here is the blow-by-blow account of the crushing 83-79 loss.

20:00 in the first half - Though sophomore guard Anthony Goods is available tonight, he is not in the starting lineup.  Sophomore point guard Mitch Johnson remains in the starting lineup, now for the seventh straight game.

20:00 - Loose balls were a bugaboo for Stanford at the end of the most recent game against USC, so we note that the Cardinal chase down the opening tip to start the game.

19:38 - Stanford chases the first rebounding opportunity but loses the ball, and senior Fred Washington commits a foul.  Stanford spent most of the season as the best rebounding team in the Pac-10 but have lost that edge the last few games.  If they don't reclaim it tonight, they're in trouble.

19:09 - Nick Young hits the first attempt for USC, a long two against sophomore Lawrence Hill.  This is a defensive match-up for Stanford that can make or break the game, and one to watch closely.

18:48 - Great feed by Johnson to senior Fred Washington at the basket, but he bobbles the ball and ends up underneath with nowhere to go.  He gives the ball to freshman Brook Lopez, who attacks the basket but is called for an offensive foul on the shot.  This is an ominous start for Stanford.

18:02 - After a turnover by Washington, USC pushes it the other way and throws a transition alley-oop pass to Young, but it is blocked by freshman Robin Lopez.  A foul is called instead.  Stanford cannot afford foul trouble, but their premier defenders all already have a whistle each.

17:41 - The game within the game to watch is Taj Gibson versus freshman Brook Lopez, which was the core of Stanford's block party when the teams played first this year.  Lopez hangs over Gibson and induces a turnover right here.

17:22 - Brook Lopez shuffles his feet trying to drive against the Trojans defense.  That is already the fourth turnover for Stanford.  Fourth!

17:22 - Goods is into the game for Robin Lopez.  Stanford goes small.  Goods is defending Lodrick Stewart.

16:59 - There is the first kind whistle of the game for Stanford, after a series of turnovers and fouls...  And now a second foul called against USC three seconds later...  And now a third foul, two seconds after the second.  Pac-10 referees defy description.

16:49 - Goods gives an instant impact on offense, hitting his first shot attempt since mid-February.  It's a three-pointer, which (finally) puts Stanford on the board, down just 6-3.

16:30 - Gibson tries to take Brook Lopez off the dribble, and he is rejected under the basket.  Echoes the first Stanford-USC game more than the second, so far with this match-up.

15:52 - Stanford has yet another turnover, and USC takes it the other way for a lay-up after a series of passes.  Stanford calls a timeout.  10-3, USC.

15:52 - Redshirt sophomore Kenny Brown is into the game, substituting for Johnson.  We'll see if Brown still has that hot hand after scoring 22 points last Saturday versus Arizona.

15:28 - Washington takes the ball the length of the floor for a fastbreak lay-in, but he leaves the ball short on the rim.  Goods is there to clean up the mess.  Off the bench, he has all five of Stanford's points.  That's good and bad news for Stanford.

14:06 - At the first media timeout, junior Peter Prowitt is in for Brook Lopez.

13:40 - Goods handles the ball up top as the shot clock winds down, and he has nowhere to go.  But Brown is left open in the corner.  Goods gets him the ball, and Brown hits with the quick-trigger three-pointer.  Stanford needed that score.  And that is precisely what Brown brings you.  12-8, USC.

13:24 - Prowitt gets into the box score on his first defensive possession, fouling Gibson on an attempted drive...  Junior Taj Finger substitutes for Hill.

13:22 - Washington picks up his second foul, which brings Hill back off the bench as soon as his hindquarters had touched down.

13:20 - Shades of the finish from the final minutes of the second Stanford-USC game, Stanford loses a rebound on a missed Trojans free throw.  Aggressive defense and rebounding were the emphasis for Stanford this week, but it did not show there.

12:58 - Brook Lopez is back into the game (subbed for Prowitt) and gets his first positive play, a baseline hook from 12 feet.  He can really roll when his offense gets going, and that shot could be the spark.

12:03 - Don't know if he took an extra step in there somewhere, but Finger made a couple of impressive spin moves after an offensive rebound to go reverse for a lay-up.  Stanford is suddenly down just three points, 15-12.

11:25 - He can look pretty, and he can miss everything.  Brown touches no rim on that three-point attempt, hitting only the backboard.

10:54 - Stanford defends into single digits on the shot clock, and Young has the ball in his hands.  He takes a 14-foot fall-away jumper that looks perfect.  I don't know what Hill or anyone can do about that shot.

10:30 - Stanford now goes big, with Robin Lopez into the game for Finger.  Finger had not been doing a bad job with rebounds and loose balls, however.

10:28 - USC's Keith Wilkinson is called for an offensive foul (moving screen?), which goes as a turnover.  Despite the terrible start, that statistic has now evened out.  Five turnovers a piece for the Cardinal and Trojans.

10:04 - Goods gets to the free throw line after a second Wilkinson foul, this time on the other end.  Goods hits both, which gives him seven of Stanford's 14 points.  He substitutes to the bench for a breather afterward, replaced by Johnson.  Remember, Goods does not have great conditioning after missing three-plus weeks with the high ankle sprain.

9:17 - Big offensive play for Johnson immediately after returning to the game.  He drives into the lane, makes a spin move and then shoots a pull-up jumper.  Nothing but net.  That has to be a confidence-builder.  Stanford is down just one point, 17-16.

8:34 - Freshman Landry Fields goes to the line for a one-and-one free throw opportunity but bricks the front end.  Robin Lopez races across the lane for the offensive rebound against two Trojans, and he gets to the ball but is whistled for a foul.  That play is in front of me, and I didn't see the foul.  No benefit of the replay, but that looked like just a lot of energy attacking the ball - exactly what Stanford has been lacking and needs in its rebounding.

7:50 - Big offensive rebound by Fields, including the aerial putback, after a shot by Hill was redirected.  Stanford is down two, 20-18.

7:22 - Goods just returned to the game, and here he makes his first drive, curling around the defense to go baseline.  He pulls up and drains the short jumper.  Very smooth.  He is not yet showing any rust after the long absence.

6:06 - Goods is open for a three-pointer, and Johnson finds him right away.  Goods takes off from three feet behind the line and drains it.  Stanford has its first lead of the game, 23-22.

5:36 - There was maybe the first glimpse of any injury-return effects for Goods.  He had a steal and open path to the basket, but he stumbled just a bit when collecting for the lay-in drive, and that let a trailing Trojan poke the ball away out of bounds.

5:13 - Johnson is still aggressive with his offense, driving the ball deep into the defense.  He then whips it outside to an open Fields, who nails the shot.  That is already four three-pointers for Stanford.

4:29 - USC, too, is deep and talented in the three-point department - better in both categories than the Cardinal, for sure.  They will hit their share of bombs and just dropped their second, by the hand of Gabriel Pruitt.

4:12 - Johnson misses a jumper, which Brook Lopez tips in.  One official blows his whistle and after some quick conference with his striped peers, he waves off the basket and calls an offensive foul on Lopez.  Another questionable call that goes against one of the Lopez twins.  They are so big and athletic that officials at times cannot believe the balls they can reach.  To add insult to injury, that is Stanford foul number seven and gives USC a free throw bonus opportunity on the other end.

3:57 - Coming back from the final media timeout of the half, Finger goes to the free throw line in the double bonus.  USC has 10 fouls already...  Finger hits both, which gives Stanford its largest lead - five points.  30-25.

3:18 - Stanford just committed its first turnover in 12 and a half minutes.  No coincidence that they went on a 27-17 run during the stretch.

2:49 - Great contributions on the offensive end by Fields this half (he did give up a score on his first defensive possession).  He just made a mid-range turnaround jumper for his sixth and seventh points.

2:07 - Johnson takes his defender off the dribble - a move some Cardinal critics don't believe in his arsenal - and pulls up for a tough short jumper while being knocked to the ground by help defender RouSean Cromwell.  That could be a three-point play for the much-maligned sophomore, but he hit the floor hard.  Stanford elects to sub him from the game, putting Brown at the stripe.  He hits.  I cannot remember the last time Stanford had a substitute free throw shooter complete a teammate's three-point play.  Stanford leads 35-27.

1:34 - Finger cuts to the basket and receives a pass from Hill, with a quick catch and lay-in finish.  Great bench play this half from Finger, Fields and Goods.  Add in Brown, and that foursome has 29 of Stanford's 37 points.  All four are on the floor right now.

0:54 - More from the bench!  Goods drives and draws two defenders, which leaves Fields wide open.  Goods kicks it back out, and the freshman drains the triple.

0:33 - Nick Young answers on the other end with a long jumper.  No lead will be safe tonight given how the Trojans can shoot from outside.

0:08 - On a Goods missed jumper, Brown leaps for the offensive rebound and lays it back in.

Halftime - The starters/bench scoring balance in the first half is unlike anything I can remember for Stanford.  The Cardinal have two bench players in double figures (Goods - 12; Fields - 10) and none from the starters.  The top four scorers came off the bench, totaling 34 points.  Three starters have not scored, yet Stanford is up 42-31.  5-of-10 three-point shooting is a big reason why.  And just the one turnover in the final 15-plus minutes of the half.

20:00 in the second half - Stanford begins the second half with the lineup of Goods, Washington, Hill, Lopez and Lopez that had been the starting lineup through January and half of February, before Goods' injury.  Despite four points, three assists and three rebounds in a good first half, Johnson is on the bench.  Can't fault this move.

19:49 - In case you forgot, that grossly errant three-point attempt by Washington is a reminder of why he does not shoot jumpers and had not attempted more than a single three-pointer this season.  Curious to see that in the very first possession of the half.  Did he hear something from a coach at halftime to encourage such a thing?  I can't imagine why.

17:14 - USC ends the two teams' collective scoring drought with a tough fadeaway baseline jumper by Young.

16:34 - Cromwell picks up his fourth personal foul.  I'm not sure whether that is a positive or negative for the Cardinal.

16:24 - Nice catch and lay-in by Washington on a lob from Goods.  That is Washington's shooting range.

15:54 - Brook Lopez picks up an offensive whistle way away from the basket - that's his third.  He has not been able to do anything yet in this game.

15:15 - USC is now feeling the frustration of missed plays at the basket, which have been a Stanford demon at times this year.  The Trojans just missed a pair of attempts at point blank, and then committed an offensive foul.

14:49 - Young hits a three-pointer to close the gap to eight points.  He has 17 of USC's 36 points.

14:40 - Washington attacks right away on the other end in transition, driving and scoring the lay-in while being fouled...  Though, he misses the three-point finish at the stripe.

14:02 - Sometimes the bounces go your way.  Washington drives across the lane and loses the ball.  Stewart chases it out of bounds and rifles it behind his back.  Robin Lopez collects the ball and attacks the rim.  He is fouled, and the ball rattles its way in.

13:09 - After a missed Johnson mid-range jumper, Washington skies for a great offensive rebound and the quick follow off the glass.  He is scoring much more this year on dribble penetration, but that offensive rebound and putback remains a greatest asset for Stanford.  He can jump, and he always plays with energy (unless he has food poisoning - see Arizona).

12:55 - Dwight Lewis answers with a three-pointer.  The pace is picking up for both teams after an ugly start to the half.  Might be more helpful for USC.

12:42 - Washington comes right back, attacking the rim and laying it in.  His three-pointer attempt aside, he has exploded with excellence this half.  Zero points at halftime, after playing just seven minutes (two fouls).  He already has eight points this half - out of Stanford's 10.

12:17 - Goods cannot stay with Gabriel Pruitt up top, losing his footing and giving up the open three-pointer, which goes down.  That may be a symptom of the lower-body strength Goods has lost.

11:58 - Great up-and-under move by Finger to score at the basket.  I don't think he's missed yet this game.  54-44, Stanford.

11:30 - More trouble for Goods defending on the perimeter.  This time he fouls Pruitt on a three-pointer, giving up three free throws.  Pruitt his all three.  Seven-point game with plenty to go.

11:06 - Fields just missed a three-pointer, and the Robin Lopez tip-back missed.  USC grabs the rebound, and they are gathering momentum.  The crowd applause reflects heavy favoritism for the Los Angeles team.

11:00 - Stanford substitutes three players here, but not Goods.  I don't believe he can play effectively much longer with his conditioning - at least, on the defensive end.

10:40 - Stewart hits a jumper against Johnson.  Now it's a four-point game.

10:09 - Johnson nearly had a double-dribble earlier in the possession, and here he shuffles his feet trying to pass to Goods.  Turnover.  The momentum builds for USC.

9:55 - Wilkinson hits one of two free throws, trimming the margin to three.  Stanford needs an answer.

9:42 - And there it is.  Hill uses a little shoulder fake from 10 feet to draw contact, and still hits the shot.  That quiets the crowd...  But he misses the free throw.  Would you believe that is Hill's first field goal tonight?  Hard to believe Stanford leads by five.

9:25 - Pruitt is really pressuring the ball as Johnson brings it up the floor the last several possessions.

9:15 - Washington is out of control on an attempted drive and picks up the offensive foul.  Stanford's offensive rhythm is missing, and the turnovers are returning.

8:29 - Washington feeds the ball on a short pass to Hill's ankles, and that becomes another turnover.  I would turn to the bench players who gave Stanford such a big lift in the first half - Finger, Fields and Brown.

8:20 - USC is helping, however.  They have turned the ball over now their last two possessions.

8:01 - Daniel Hackett commits an offensive foul with the ball way away from the basket.  The Trojans are stuck on 51 points, fortunately for Stanford.

7:43 - Washington with another offensive foul, his fourth of the game.  Pretty bad basketball from both teams right now, and the officials are not much better...  Washington to the bench, and Fields comes in.

7:29 - There again is that baseline fadeaway jumper by Young.  He's hitting, and it can't really be stopped.

6:55 - Hackett hits a three-pointer on a kick-out by Gibson.  Two-point game.  58-56.

6:43 - Johnson hoists a three early in the shot clock that misses.  Don't like that shot.

5:38 - Hackett misses a three-pointer, and Goods leaps to the defensive rebound.  On at least the last two Trojans' misses, I haven't seen hardly anybody near the offensive boards for them.

5:32 - All of these whistles are adding up, and Young committed his fourth foul and USC's 10th of the half.  Hill is at the free throw line but hits just one of two.  Stanford should be shooting better at the stripe.

5:16 - Pruitt hits a three-pointer over Goods to tie the game.  The Trojans are hot from deep, now 7-of-13 in the game and 5-of-8 this half.  Goods' perimeter defense, of course, is playing a part.

4:35 - Now Brook Lopez picks up his fourth personal foul and Stanford's 10th of the half on a block attempt at the basket.  He has four points and has not scored this half.

4:35 - Washington is back into the game for Fields.  Stanford will play both Washington and Brook Lopez with four fouls, at a time in the game when Trent Johnson might usually sit a player.

4:29 - Pruitt smells blood in the water and is all over Goods as he brings the ball up.  The whistle blows.  That puts a good free throw shooter on the line and gives Stanford some easy offense...  Though Goods hits just one of two.  Stanford trails 61-60...  More substitutions, but Goods stays on the floor.

4:07 - Robin Lopez just blocked back-to-back USC attempts at the basket, though each went out of bounds and gave the ball back to the Trojans.

4:06 - Washington blocks an attempted shot on USC's inbounds play.  The ball stays in play.

3:53 - USC hoists a desperation off-balance jumper to beat the shot clock, but it misses the rim.  Big defensive possession and stop for Stanford...  This is the final media timeout.  Stanford needs to make some smart and efficient plays down the stretch.  They're on their heels.  And if you believe the NCAA Tournament bubble doomsday talk, Stanford's season is on the line right here.

3:50 - Goods is bringing the ball up.  I wouldn't do that.  He is having to work extra hard, and he needs little breaks in the game

3:29 - Surprise: Goods just hit a three-pointer.  He admitted earlier this week that his jumper is predicated upon his legs, and his legs are at greatest risk from the time he has missed the last several weeks.  Big shot that probably used heart to make up for legs.  Stanford is back in the lead, 63-61.

3:09 - Not Goods this time, but another critical mistake defending the three-pointer by Stanford.  This time Brown gets a piece of Hackett, and the shot is good.  Hackett hits the free throw for the huge four-point play.  USC leads by two.

2:55 - Fields with a big shot to tie the game.  12 points off the bench.  His best game in months - maybe of the year?

2:09 - USC misses a three-pointer, and the rebound drops all the way to the floor.  USC corrals it.  Shades of the game 14 days ago?

1:46 - Lewis airballs a long-range attempt.  Gas issues for the Trojans, instead?

1:31 - Goods has a three-pointer rim out, but Robin Lopez grabs the offensive rebound and puts it back.  Neither Lopez has been much of a factor in this game, but that was a big play.  Also, Robin Lopez has not found himself this late in games often at all the past two months.  Stanford leads, 67-65.

0:51.5 - Wow.  Goods takes his man off the dribble and then attacks the basket.  Gibson helps and flops on what could have been a charge.  Hard to be sure from my vantage.  Goods dished the ball, though, to Robin Lopez, who laid it in.  Big no-call by officials who have been whistle-happy all game.  Incredibly gutty play for Goods, who has probably doubled the minutes he should be playing tonight.  Four-point lead: 69-65.

0:39.2 - Brook Lopez had gone to the bench but is now brought back into the game.  Stanford is playing both of the seven-foot freshmen down the stretch.  Interesting.  Young hits both free throws to close the game to two.

0:30.3 - Pruitt fouls Goods bringing the ball up.  USC fans don't like the call...  Goods misses the first free throw.  That is big because now Stanford cannot lead by more than one basket...  He misses the second, too!  Two-point game.  Brutal.  That could come back and bite the Cardinal big.  USC has the rebound and final possession.

0:23.7 - USC calls timeout.  What play will they call?  Have to think a three-pointer, which would win it.  Stanford has Robin Lopez, Finger, Washington, Fields and Goods on the floor.

0:10.6 - Young for the umpteenth time hits the baseline fadeaway.  He's incredible.  It's a long jumper, but a two to tie the game at 69-69.

0:05.4  - Goods races up the court to the corner in front of the Stanford bench to call a timeout.

0:00 - Goods has the ball for the last shot, but his pull-up attempt is swatted by Gibson.  Goods didn't look like he had much spring in his legs to get that shot off, though Gibson is a talented shotblocker.  Hill collects the ball for a heave before the buzzer that misses the rim.  Overtime.

5:00 left in overtime - Stanford starts Brook Lopez, Hill, Washington, Fields and Goods.  That's the third different "starting" lineup tonight.

4:16 - Costly defensive lapse for Stanford.  After a miss, USC takes it the other way.  Stewart is completely uncovered in the corner and rattles home a long two.

3:08 - Goods handles the ball almost the entire possession, including chasing down the ball after it was poked away with pressure, and he barely musters a shot attempt at the end of the clock.  He is having to work so hard - too hard.

3:03 - The Los Angeles crowd can't believe it, but a good call goes against Stewart with an offensive foul attacking the basket.  Hill takes a very hard fall, and he isn't getting up.  He eventually, gingerly is helped to his feet and to the bench.  He does not look good.

2:40 - USC makes one of two free throws and now leads by three.  Stanford has yet to score in overtime.

2:06 - Final seconds of the shot clock, and Stanford can't get any look at the basket.  Brown launches an off-balance three that misses, but Fields gets the offensive rebound.

1:55 - Short toss by Washington goes down and ends the overtime drought.  Stanford trails by one.  The offense just is not there and the shots are not dropping, so it will take exceptional defense to pull this out.

1:20 - Monster putback dunk by Brook Lopez, which draws oohs and aahs from everyone in the house.  It scored, but I thought the first shot attempt was a poor decision by Lopez.  He had two defenders in front of him, and behind him was perched Brown, at the three-point line with nobody within eight feet.  Stanford is still down by one.

0:54.5 - USC looks like they want a three-point shot, but Stewart instead drives on Fields and lays the ball in over the rim.  76-73, USC.

0:36.3 - The turnover demons come home to roost on a game-killing perimeter pass by Brown, that is picked cleanly and taken to the house by Pruitt.  Five-point game.  That looks like the ballgame.  And the season.

0:21.7 - As Hackett shoots free throws, the chorus of "We are SC" reverberates throughout the Staples Center.  There is no mistaking the home court advantage for the Los Angeles teams as long as the Pac-10 Tournament sticks at this site.

0:05.0 - Goods hits a three-pointer, but it is much too little too late.  Stanford trails 81-76.

0:00 - Fields hits a three-pointer at the buzzer to make the final score 83-79.  USC wins.  Stanford will sweat every second from now through Selection Sunday and may very well play in the NIT for the second straight year.


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