USC Edges Stanford for first 2-0 conference start in 10 year

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nick Rakocevic scored 23 points and Bennie Boatwright added 22 to lead USC to a 77-66 win over Stanford on Sunday night.

USC (9-6, 2-0 Pac-12) has won its first two conference games of the season for the first time since 2010 and four straight overall.

Stanford (7-7, 0-2) has lost three of its last four games.

USC scored the first 13 points and didn’t trail until KZ Okpala’s 3-pointer gave Stanford a 49-46 lead with 12:45 left. It remained close until USC pulled away with an 11-0 run for a 68-55 lead when Rakocevic made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:22 remaining.

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Rakocevic, who scored a career-high 27 points in USC’s Pac-12 opener against Cal, had 14 in the first half. He finished with 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

Cormac Ryan scored 18 points — all on six second-half 3-pointers — for Stanford. Daejon Davis had 14 points and Okpala 12 for the Cardinal.

USC led by as many as 13 points before taking a 31-21 lead into the half. Stanford caught fire and went on a 10-2 run in the second half to cut the lead to 35-31. A Bryce Willis dunk tied the game at 43.

USC’s Jonah Mathews left the court with what appeared to be an ankle injury but quickly returned. For the brief period he was gone, USC was down to six healthy scholarship players.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer attended the game and sat courtside. It was a double-header of basketball as he attended the Clippers’ win over Orlando at nearby Staples Center, then made it to Galen Center.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: The Cardinal put itself in a hole by losing its first two conference games but returns home next.

USC: is proving it can win with little depth in a conference that isn’t as strong as usual.

UP NEXT

Stanford: Hosts Arizona on Wednesday.

USC: Plays Thursday at Oregon State.

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