Sports

Stanford men hope to repeat Pac-10 hoops road success

 

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

One good road win deserves another. At least, that's what the Stanford men's basketball team is hoping.

The Cardinal (3-2, 10-6) travels to USC for Thursday night's 7:30 p.m. scheduled tipoff in a Pac-10 road contest.

Stanford downed Arizona State in Tempe and has the capability of beating the Trojans in the Galen Center. USC (2-3, 10-8) was picked to finish sixth in the conference but has shown the ability to rise to the occasion, earning wins over Texas and Tennessee.

The Cardinal was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10, so in that regard its current third-place standing looks good. Stanford knows it let one get away last Saturday, though, at home against Washington State.

Stanford has split its games against the top two teams in the conference and may have a chance to break its third-place tie with UCLA (3-2, 11-6) in Saturday's nationally-televised game at 11 a.m.

Washington may still be the class of the conference, though Stanford showed even the fast-paced Huskies can be slowed a bit. In the big picture, it means that any number of Pac-10 teams maintain a shot at postseason.

The Trojans are always tough at home, where they are 6-2 this season. Stanford is 2-5 away from Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal last beat USC in Los Angeles six years ago.

In last year's series, 54 points was enough to win, with each team protecting its home court. Jeremy Green and Jarrett Mann are hoping to improve their career numbers against the Trojans. Green has 28 points against them, his lowest total against any Pac-10 team. Mann is 0-for-10 against them from the field.

The further development of junior Josh Owens and freshman Dwight Powell has given the Cardinal hopes of competing in the Pac-10.

"Josh is starting to get his timing down and he's rounding into basketball shape," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Dwight has been working hard and showing signs of improvement. He's more active and rebounding for us more consistently."

USC freshman guard Bryce Jones announced Tuesday that he intends to transfer to another school. He averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 18 games, starting the first 10.

"Bryce Jones has informed us of his desire to leave USC and transfer to another school," Trojans' coach Kevin O'Neill said. "We appreciate his contributions to our program, and we wish Bryce and his family all the best. He's a talented player with a promising future."

Jones averaged 20.6 minutes a game and is second on the team with 20 3-pointers. In high school, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals and made 56.8 percent of his shots in leading Taft High to the Los Angeles City Section final and the third round of the Division I state playoffs. He was ranked as high as the 36th best overall prospect.

"My family and I felt it was in my best interest to transfer, so I informed coach O'Neill of this," Jones said in a statement. "Although my time at USC didn't go exactly how I had hoped in terms of playing time, I appreciate the experience I was offered and I wish my teammates nothing but the best in the future."

After making 107 3-pointers last season, last in the conference, the Trojans have already made 111 long range shots and are fifth thus far. Donte Smith leads the way with 40.

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