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Feb 9, 2024 10:58 pm

Southern California, Stanford try to shake off slumps

Maxime Raynaud

Slumping Pac-12 Conference counterparts Southern California and host Stanford look to bounce back on Saturday.

Stanford (11-11, 6-9 Pac-12) dropped its second straight and third in the last four outings on Wednesday, losing to visiting UCLA 82-74. The Cardinal gave up 11 made 3-pointers, the Bruins’ most this season, while shooting only 4-of-17 from beyond the arc.

The tepid long-range shooting came on the heels of a Stanford team that averages 9.3 made 3-pointers per game and made 14 in an 82-71 loss at Arizona on Sunday.

In his postgame news conference on Wednesday, Cardinal coach Jerod Haase alluded to Stanford combining its previous outside shooting success with the scoring efficiency it found on the interior against UCLA.

Stanford finished with a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint, with big man Maxime Raynaud carrying the bulk of the load with 20 points.

“He’s certainly a talented player,” Haase said of Raynaud. “When he’s around the basket and scoring inside, it adds just another dimension to our team that’s really good. We want to keep getting him the basketball.”

Raynaud attempted just four shots and scored four points in Stanford’s previous meeting with USC, a 93-79 Trojans home win.

USC (9-14, 3-9) has been sliding since that meeting on Jan. 6, however, losing seven of eight after Wednesday’s 83-77 overtime setback at Cal.

The Trojans battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit behind Isaiah Collier, who scored 20 points — all in the second half — in his return from a six-game absence due to a hand injury.

USC’s skid began amid a rash of injuries, including the absence of interior defensive presence Joshua Morgan due to an upper respiratory illness in January, and leading scorer Boogie Ellis (16.8 points per game) for three games due to a hamstring injury.

“You gotta fight through the adversity,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said via the Orange County Register. “A lot of teams go through this, a lot of players, coaches … no one feels sorry for us, so we don’t expect it.”

–Field Level Media

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