Cardinal burning Bright in Pac-12 spotlight


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online

Aaron Bright had his number called twice late in Saturday's men's basketball game, and each time he answered.

Bright scored seven of his game-high 16 points in the final 4:43 of play to help Stanford beat visiting USC, 51-43, in a Pac-12 contest.

"It gives me confidence that coach called my number late in the game," Bright said. "If I can get my look and get my feet set I'll take the shot. I try not to force too much."

Josh Owens added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Cardinal (12-2, 2-0), which ended a three-game losing streak to the Trojans.

The Cardinal travels to Oregon for a 6 p.m. start on Thursday.

Alexis Moore scored 12 points to lead the Trojans (5-10, 0-2), who lost their third straight and five of six overall.

The Cardinal led by 11 with 14:25 remaining before the Trojans whittled it to a 3-point deficit nine minutes later.

Bright hit a long 2-point jump shot and a 3-pointer within a 38-second period to give Stanford a 49-41 advantage with under four minutes to play.

He added a pair of free throws in the final minute.

"He's a great player for us," Owens said. "We called his number a couple of times and he stepped up and did his job. He knows his role and he embraces it."

After trailing by eight early, Stanford bounced back to take a 31-25 lead at halftime.

"That was one of the best defensive teams we've played," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "And that was one of our best defensive efforts."

The Trojans missed seven of their first 10 shots of the second half, but remained within striking distance thanks in part to their aggressive defense.

USC nearly erased all of a 16-point deficit in Thursday's loss at California, using defense as its spark.

The Trojans again used defense to make it a game, harassing Stanford into 10 second-half turnovers and a season low for points.

USC has not allowed a team more than 66 points on the year and is on track to match the 1948 team for most consecutive games holding opponents under 66 points.

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