Sports

Powell will be the key for Stanford against the Bruins

Dwight Powell has a triple-double inside of him just waiting to come out. Thursday's Pac-12 Conference men's basketball game at UCLA would be a good time for it.

A lot of good things can happen for Stanford (3-2 in the Pac-12, 12-5 overall) should it have a good weekend in Southern California. A split would be OK but a sweep would put the Cardinal in the middle of things.

USC earned its first conference win of the season on Wednesday, handing visiting California its first Pac-12 loss of the year, 77-69. Stanford and the Bruins (3-2, 14-4) are currently tied for fourth.

One of those teams has an opportunity to move into third place. Colorado (4-2, 15-4) plays at Arizona (5-0, 18-0) in a 6 p.m. start on ESPN2. The Cardinal and UCLA follow at 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

Stanford has had a rough time in Southern California recently, losing 15 of its past 16 played at the Bruins and Trojans. The Cardinal has not won at UCLA since 2005, losing in its last eight trips.

Stanford has reason for optimism, heading to Westwood with a three-game winning streak, which started with a road win at then No. 19 Oregon. UCLA was knocked out of the top 25 after losing at Utah last week.

Powell has five double-doubles on the season, including a 17-point, 10-rebound effort in Stanford's 79-67 win over Washington on Saturday. He's also the team leader with 71 assists, recording as many as six in a game, his career high, four times this year.

Josh Huestis also recorded a double-double against the Huskies with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Chasson Randle matched his career high with 33 points.

Will the Bruins have enough to account for all three players? If Powell and Huestis, with Stefan Nastic, can establish an inside game, that would mean opening Randle up for his scoring prowess.

At the same time, should Randle, who averages a team best 19.5 points on over 52 percent shooting, get it going, Powell or Huestis could suddenly come up big against UCLA.

Powell has reached double figures in scoring the past nine consecutive games and is second on the team in both scoring (14.2) and rebounding (7.6). Huestis averages 10.9 points and 8.0 rebounds.

Anthony Brown will influence the game one way or another. After scoring in double figures in each of his first nine games, he's been held to fewer than 10 points in five of his last eight.

He's also been assigned to the opposing team's best perimeter scorer. Brown showed what he could do against Washington, helping to limit C.J. Wilcox to a season-low nine points.

UCLA's Kyle Anderson (15.5 points a game) is Brown's next challenge. Anderson is a lot like Randle in that he can shoot from just about anywhere and also take the ball to the hoop. That will be a key matchup for the Cardinal.

Stanford goes to USC on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tipoff to finish their trip south.

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