LOS ANGELES (AP) Winning a physically tough, ragged game was another step forward for No. 25 Southern California.
With Jordan McLaughlin scoring 15 points and Chimezie Metu adding 14, the Trojans grinded out a hard-fought 72-56 victory over short-handed Stanford 72-56 on Thursday night.
“Oregon got physical and we didn’t play well,” Metu said. “But our young guys are starting to catch on how to play in the Pac-12. We knew they were going to come out physical tonight and we responded.”
Southern California (15-1, 2-1) rebounded from its first loss of the season at Oregon on Saturday by holding the Cardinal to 36 percent shooting and 21 turnovers.
“We’re leading the Pac-12 in steals per game,” Southern California coach Andy Enfield said. “That pressure helps us a lot because we have to play a lot of lineups. With a key player out for a long time (Bennie Boatwright) we have to play zone, play pressure defense, which helps us use all our lineups.”
McLaughlin’s scoring is something Enfield wants to see from his point guard, who added six assists.
“We want him taking 6 to 9 shots a game,” Enfield said. “We need him to shoot the basketball, and be confident shooting it.”
De’Anthony Melton added 12 points for Southern California, which won despite shooting 42 percent, and committing 18 turnovers. The Trojans had 10 steals, 5 blocks, and scored 27 points off Stanford turnovers.
“Being 15-1 is great,” Metu said. “But we still have a long season ahead of us, and we have to take each of these games one at a time.”
Marcus Allen and Dorian Pickens scored 13 points each to lead Stanford (8-7, 0-3), which lost its third straight.
“Both teams played great defense,” said Allen, who posted a season-high point total. “We just had too many turnovers. I thought our halfcourt defense was good. We struggled in transition, and gave them too many breakouts.”
The Cardinal played without Reid Travis, the 6-foot-8 junior who leads the Cardinal in scoring (17.5).
Travis injured his right shoulder in practice earlier this week and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Stanford spokesman Doug Drabik.
Leading 27-26 late in the first half, the Trojans ran off an 18-6 run, taking a 45-32 lead on a fast-break dunk by Elijah Stewart off a nice feed from McLaughlin. Stanford could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Southern California’s biggest lead was 68-48.
The Trojans led 36-28 at halftime thanks to McLaughlin’s end-to-end driving layup at the buzzer. McLaughlin went 5 for 5 from the field in the first half, while the rest of the Trojans made just 6 of 19.
Stanford: The Cardinal, who were coming off a 91-52 loss to No. 18 Arizona – the fifth-most lopsided loss in school history – fell to 0-4 against ranked opponents this season. The Cardinal have also lost to No. 12 St. Mary’s (66-51) and No. 4 Kansas (89-74). … The Cardinal have lost six of their last eight games after opening the season 6-1.
Southern California: The Trojans snapped a five-game losing streak against Stanford, and moved within two victories of .500 (123-125) all-time, with one USC victory vacated due to NCAA penalties. The Trojans won their Pac-12 home opener for the third straight year. … Enfield recorded his 100th victory at USC.
Stanford: is at UCLA on Sunday.
Southern California: Hosts California on Sunday night.