Marcus Allen generally influences games anonymously. He's averaging 23 minutes a game since the beginning of conference play and averaged 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds a contest.
The Stanford sophomore guard held his own coming-out party Sunday, recording his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds and the Cardinal erased a halftime deficit to beat visiting USC, 70-62, in a Pac-12 men's basketball contest.
"We call him a sparkplug for the team," Cardinal senior Chasson Randle said. "Today he did that for us on the boards."
Allen even got to put the finishing touches on the game, scoring four of Stanford's final seven points and grabbing three of his rebounds over the final four minutes.
"It kind of just happens," Allen said. "I try to pick everybody up on defense and get them energized. I try to do the small things that don't show up on the stat sheet."
Now that he has put himself in the spotlight, Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins may start to expect more out of him.
"If he can did it once, I expect him to do it again," Dawkins said. "Marcus does one thing one night and something different the next night. If he can put it all together he's capable of having a great career here."
Stanford (7-4 in the Pac-12, 16-7 overall) goes on the road to play a 6 p.m. game at Utah (8-2, 18-4) Thursday. The Cardinal has won three straight against the Utes, who are 13-0 at home this year.
"They play great defense and I don't think they've lost at home," Randle said. "We just have to keep playing hard. Effort helped us win this game and we'll need all that and more."
Utah, tied for first place with Arizona, has won 11 of its past 13 games overall and is currently ranked 13th in the nation.
Allen was joined by the other four starters in reaching double figures in scoring, despite a joint shooting effort of 36.7 percent, including a frightfully low 26.1 from 3-point land. Stanford entered Sunday's contest shooting 41.1 percent from long range, tied with Sacramento State for fourth in the nation.
Randle led the way with 17 points, Stefan Nastic added 15 points and eight rebounds, Anthony Brown scored 11 points and had nine rebounds and Rosco Allen added 11 points.
The Cardinal shares third place in the conference with Oregon and Oregon State, two games back of the co-leaders and a game ahead of UCLA with seven games remaining.
Four of Stanford's remaining contests are against Utah and Arizona on the road and Oregon and Oregon State at home.
The Cardinal opened the second half with a 13-4 run to wipe out a six-point halftime deficit. An offensive rebound led to Randle's lean-in jumper with 13:53 remaining that put Stanford ahead.
"I'm impressed with the win," Randle said. "They gave us everything they had and we had to give them everything we had."
Marcus Allen's layup with 6:28 left in the first half to put Stanford ahead, 27-20. The Trojans outscored the Cardinal 19-6 the rest of the way to take a 39-33 advantage into intermission.