by Josh Dubo
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Harrison Ingram and Spencer Jones scored 21 points as Stanford beat No. 5 Southern California 75-69 on Tuesday to register their first win over a top-five team in nearly 15 years.
The Cardinals (9-4, 2-1 Pac-12) returned from a nearly three-week break to COVID-19 protocol and won the big in a nearly empty field. 3 UCLA 75–68 on January 28, 2007, Stanford lost 14 straight games against teams in the top five of the AP poll.
“It’s the best win since I’ve been here. Easily,” Jones said. “Let me tell you what, we’re not finished. We still know that this conference has the top 10 teams we want to go to. So we’re definitely not. ,
Isaiah Mobley scored 16 points to lead the Trojans and Boogie Ellis added 14.
The Trojans (13-1, 3-1) were looking to tie the 2016–17 team for the school’s best start in more than 50 years, but lost in the end against Stanford. 1 Baylor’s defeat means there are no unbeaten teams left in the country.
USC coach Andy Enfield said, “We didn’t defend at a high enough level, and we couldn’t make an open shot aggressively.” “We had great looks. … our offense did not give our defense much margin for error. We weren’t good on either side of the ball, as we have been doing for most of the season.”
Noah Tatz hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the middle of the second half to give Stanford a 50-49 lead. The game was tight from there until Stanford opened it up late.
James Keefe tied the game with a 3:50 lay-up, opening 8-2 to give the Cardinal a 70-66 lead on two free throws with 1:18 from Ingram.
USC lost six of seven shots and three free throws in the final five minutes.
“Our number one key to the game plan was to be the toughest team out there,” Jones said. “We knew it was going to be a boxing fight for all those big guys. We just kept fighting and we knew we could never give up on that aspect. We lost the comeback fight one by one, but I feel like we were having the hardest time there.”
USC: The Trojans had won 20 straight games against in-state competition since losing overtime to UCLA on February 28, 2019. But they were never able to cushion against the Cardinals and lost.
Stanford: The Cardinals lost eight of nine shots during a stretch in the first half and scored 33-32 to score the last six points before the break before trailing seven. This was about the only sign of Jung he showed in his return to action.
“If you can’t get excited for a top five team after sitting out for about three weeks then our guys don’t have a pulse and I know they have a pulse,” coach Jerrod Haase said.
Stanford returned to the court for the first time on December 23, defeating Liberty at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
The Cardinals went into COVID protocol before that tournament’s championship game against Vanderbilt and then games against California and UCLA were postponed earlier this month. The competition, originally scheduled for Saturday, was moved back three days.
The Trojans made their second appearance since a nearly three-week break for COVID protocols. He beat Cal 77-64 at Berkeley last Thursday.
The game was played in front of only a handful of fans as Stanford only has limited attendance of family members due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
The Trojans rose to No. 5 in an AP poll this week, their highest ranking in the regular season being fifth on December 30, 1974. This stagnation should not last long after this defeat.
USC: Host Oregon State on Thursday.
Stanford: Visit Washington State on Thursday.
More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25