A tale of two halves: USC prevails over Cardinal in OT 82-78

gostanford.com photo: The USC Trojan’s Nick Rakocevic (31) is surrounded by the Stanford Cardinals’ Jaiden Declaire (11) and Oscar Da Silva (13) on Saturday night at USC

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, January 18, 2020

For the first 20 minutes, it was all Stanford in its Pac-12 men’s basketball game against Southern California. The last 20 minutes belonged to the Trojans.

Elijah Weaver made a 3-pointer to force overtime, as the Trojans rallied from a 21-point deficit to pull out an 82-78 win over the visiting Cardinal Saturday in Los Angeles.

The victory pulled the Trojans into a tie with Stanford for first place in the conference. It was USC’s ninth win in their last 10 games; they’re 8-1 at home this season.

Weaver also scored eight of his 13 points in overtime. Oneyka Okongwu scored 22 points to lead USC (15-3 overall, 4-1 Pac-12), followed by Jonah Mathews with 19 points and 11 from Ethan Anderson.

Okongwu also grabbed nine rebounds, as the Trojans held a 38-31 edge on the glass.

Oscar da Silva led the Cardinal with 21 points, and Spencer Jones was next with 18, followed by Tyrell Terry with 16 in Stanford’s first conference loss of the season.

Stanford (15-3, 4-1) led 69-64 with 33 seconds remaining in the second half after the Cardinal’s Lukas Kisunas converted a layup. USC responded with a layup by Okongwu with 11 seconds to play. After Stanford’s Daejon Davis committed a turnover on the inbound pass, Weaver hit an off-balance 3-pointer while being fouled by Davis.

Weaver didn’t get the rare four-point play, missing the free throw that would have given USC the lead in regulation.

In the opening 20 minutes, Stanford dominated, using a 7-0 run to take a 45-25 halftime lead. The Cardinal was 6 of 10 from behind the arc in the first half.

USC used a 15-2 run early in the second half to pull within 48-40. The Cardinal responded with a 9-2 run to go back up at 57-42 midway through the second half.

The Trojans launched another run, 12-1 burst to pull within 60-56 with 6:25 to play. An Anderson layup pulled USC to within 62-60 at 4:47 and picked up the pace defensively, forcing 17 Cardinal turnovers.

Stanford lost despite shooting 49 percent from the field (USC shot 40 percent).

The Cardinal take an eight-day break before visiting Cal on Jan. 26.

Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Was it a matter of Modster not getting enough protection or was USC defense just that good?

photo from sfgate.com: Southern California’s Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against California during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Berkeley, Calif.

#1 Morris, was it just a matter of not enough offense for the Cal Bears or the USC Trojans just had a great game plan to stop the run on the Bears all day long, crushing them 41-17 at Cal Memorial on Saturday night?

#2 Talk about the job that USC quarterback Kedon Slovis did — throwing for 406 yards, going 29-35, four touchdowns. Was Slovis’ game a game that he realized Cal was going to be relatively easy to throw on?

#3 For Cal quarterback David Modster who took over for starting quarterback Chase Garbers, the Trojan defense kept him running all night. For Modster, he completed 11 out 22 passes, 95 yards, intercepted twice, and no touchdowns.

#4 Cal running back DeShawn Collins kept Cal on the scoreboard at the very least, scoring two touchdowns, carried 15 times for 103 yards and had two interceptions.

#5 Cal has lost five or their last six games. They face the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford, a game that Morris and Jeremy Harness will be covering. Morris sets up The Big Game prediction for us.

Catch Morris Mondays for all the Cal Bears podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NCAAF podcast with Michelle Richardson: Trojans score twice in fourth quarter for win over Buffaloes; SMU can’t be contained stay undefeated; Alabama’s Tagovailoa top reason for success

Photo credit: athlonsports.com

On the NCAAF podcast with Michelle:

#1 The USC Trojans (5-3) just got by on Friday night against the Colorado Buffaloes (3-5) 35-31 win. With the Buffaloes leading by ten, 31-21, the Trojans stormed back with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for the 35-31 win in Boulder, Colorado.

#2 In West Division of FBS, SMU (8-0) remained undefeated on Friday night with a road win over the University of Houston (3-5) 34-31. SMU quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 203 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the win.

#3 To the big game of the week, it’s the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-6) against the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0). Crimson quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is having himself a season. So far, 2166 yards and 27 touchdowns. No doubt a very hard act to follow. Crimson Tide comes a way with a crushing win 48-7.

Michelle’s Final Thoughts

Michelle does the NCAAF podcast each Sunday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Mills amazes on big stage in Stanford game against USC

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

The last time Davis Mills started was in the state title game during his senior year at Greater Atlanta Christian in 2016 when he sustained a knee injury. Rated the top recruit in Georgia by several publications and the No. 1 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country, he threw for 6,290 yards and 66 touchdowns.

On Saturday night, Mills received his first college start under the bright lights on a big stage in front of a national television audience, quarterbacking No. 23 Stanford (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12) against USC (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12). After missing all but one contest the last two seasons due to knee injuries, the junior held his own in the 45-20 defeat to the Trojans.

“It felt great to get back out there,” said Mills. “It has been a long time. I struggled with a couple injuries my first year out here but getting back on the field always feels great … unfortunate result.”

Replacing injured senior K.J. Costello, Mills completed 22-of-36 passes for 237 yards, the most by a Cardinal signal-caller in their first career start since Kevin Hogan in 2012 (254). Composed and comfortable most of the way, despite a crowd of 62,109, Mills was sharp and tossed his first collegiate touchdown on a perfectly executed screen pass to junior wide receiver Connor Wedington in the first quarter.

Mills missed a few throws and was intercepted once, but he showed confidence, command and fight. He’ll grow from the experience.

“I thought we did pretty well at some things,” Mills said. “Definitely some things we can improve on going into the next couple of weeks. It’s a long season and we have a lot to work on.”

Arguably, Mills’ most impressive pass came on the first series of the third quarter, when he avoided the rush, stepped up and alertly shuffled the ball with is right hand to fifth-year senior running back Cameron Scarlett on third-and-long to prolong the drive.

David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, saw the positives in Mills’ performance.

“I thought he played well,” Shaw said. “It’s just about not missing those opportunities. But I think he’s going to be outstanding. He’s got a great mind for the game. He’s athletic, has a great arm, he’s accurate. He’s going to be really, really good.”

Costello provided input on the sideline.

“He was in my ear pretty much between every possession,” Mills said. “I could bounce some stuff off him because he has all the experience. He was great helping me out throughout the game.”

WORK TO DO: Leading 20-10 with 7:57 remaining in the second quarter, Stanford surrendered 35 unanswered points.

“Honestly, we didn’t come out there and execute,” said fifth-year senior outside linebacker Casey Toohill. “That hurts to say. You never, ever want to look back and realize it was completely on your own execution, that it was completely in your control, but it was. We just didn’t have a good game, didn’t execute.”

Toohill expects the Cardinal to bounce back.

“We got a lot of games left — a lot of football left to be played after this,” he said. “After this, we’ve got to look hard at the film, look at our performance and improve from there. Next week is a new opportunity, a new week, and that’s what we look forward to.”

Photo credit: gostanford.com

PLAYMAKERS: Wedington, Scarlett and Colby Parkinson had big nights. Wedington produced a career-high 197 all-purpose yards, catching five passes for 67, ran once for 17, and returned three kickoffs for 103 yards, taking one 60 yards.

“At the end of the day, we had the lead, we just need to play like it’s 0-0 and not get complacent,” Wedington said.

Wedington called his touchdown was a group effort.

“It was a quick screen behind a great block by (junior) Foster (Sarell) on the edge,” Wedington said. “Great toss by Davis, too, and I had great blockers out there.”

Parkinson caught seven passes for 89 yards, while Scarlett ran hard for 82 yards on 17 carries.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

SPECIAL TEAMS: Wedington’s long return and a fumble recovery by sophomore outside linebacker Tobe Umerah on a USC kickoff return forced by junior outside linebacker Thunder Keck were highlights.

Senior kicker Jet Toner converted two field goals but missed from 39 yards and another attempt from 47 yards was tipped. The Trojans came close to blocking freshman Ryan Sanborn’s first punt.

DECEIVING STATS: In the third quarter, Stanford possessed the ball for 11 minutes and didn’t score. The Cardinal finished with a nearly seven-minute time of possession advantage and each team recorded 23 first downs.

Using a new Air Raid, no huddle offense, USC piled up 492 yards behind freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis and a host of talented playmakers. Stanford struggled to generate a pass rush and missed a lot of tackles.

“It didn’t have to do with the air raid or anything, it has to do with us rushing the passer,” said Shaw. “We’ve just got to beat guys one-on-one. We got to him a couple times, but not enough.”

Junior cornerback Paulson Adebo led the Cardinal with eight tackles and broke up two passes.

BROTHERLY LOVE: Stanford junior wide receiver Osiris St. Brown played against his brother, USC sophomore receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, and both had their moments. Osiris caught two passes for 19 yards and displayed his athletic ability by leaping over a Trojan defender. Amon-Ra had his way with the Cardinal secondary, grabbing eight receptions for 92 yards and two scores.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

UP NEXT: The Cardinal travels to Orlando, Florida next Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. PST game at Spectrum Stadium (44,206) against No. 17 UCF. The Knights (2-0), who play in the American Athletic Conference, have beaten Florida A&A (62-0) and Florida A&M (48-16).

UCF is 27-1 the last three years and lost to LSU, 40-32, last season in the Fiesta Bowl.

True freshman Dillion Gabriel recorded his first start at quarterback on Saturday and threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. The UCF ground attack eclipsed 300 yards for the second straight week.

NOTES: Costello’s status for Saturday will be determined during the week … Freshman Walter Rouse received his first start at left tackle, becoming the second true frosh to earn the distinction since Walker Little in 2017 … Sophomore strong safety Kendall Williamson equaled his career-high with seven tackles … Freshman running back Austin Jones made his first career reception and caught two passes for 19 years … Stanford has not allowed a first quarter touchdown in five games … The Cardinal continues to hurt itself with holding penalties and mistakes. After two games, Stanford leads the Pac-12 in penalties with 16 for 160 yards … USC compiled 10 tackles for loss … Wedington ranks No. 1 in the conference in kickoff returns (32.0), No. 3 in all-purpose yards (140.5) and No. 5 in receptions (12/136) … Adebo ranks first in the Pac-12 with five passes defended … Toohill rates No. 2 in tackles for loss and No. 4 in sacks … Gene T. Sykes, MBA ’84, managing director at Goldman Sachs, served as the honorary captain. He has been a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees since 2014 and is member of the GSB Advisory Council.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

QUOTE: “It’s definitely going to test us. It’s our first loss of the season, not something we expected. We just have to drive it back, watch the film and keep going.” — Connor Wedington

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Cal and Stanford get opening day wins; 49ers open in Tampa Bay and Raiders host Denver on MNF; plus more

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On the Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 For the Cal Bears, getting a victory on opening day last Saturday was an important way to start the 2019 season with a win over UC Davis at Memorial Stadium and what a way to start with running back Christopher Brown Jr. rushing for 197 yards to help lead the team to a 27-13 win.

#2 The Stanford Cardinal defeated Northwestern, but the Cardinal lost their starting quarterback during the game when KJ Costello took a forearm to the head. The Cardinal hung onto win it 17-7. Costello could muster only one strong drive before the injury. The Cardinal are on the road next week to face the USC Trojans next Saturday.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took Thursday Night Football off last week and the 49ers went with three quarterbacks: Nick Mullins, CJ Beathard, and Nick Speight. Speight and Beathard both saw the most time in the game with Mullens resting. Is that an indication that Nick Mullens, who saw limited time will be the backup, and head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to see if Beathard or Speight will fill the third-string spot?

#4 The Oakland Raiders look as if they had a very solid preseason winning three of their four games. Raider head coach Jon Gruden said he’s happy with the progress of backup quarterbacks Nathan Peterman (out with elbow injury) and Mike Glennon who he’ll really depend on if starting quarterback Derek Carr ever needs a rest.

#5 The Oakland A’s are hosting the LA Angels and Detroit Tigers this week at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are 1/2 game back in the AL wild card behind second place Cleveland. It could go right down to the wire for a chance of a wild card birth.

Join Barbara for Headline Sports each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose State and USC agree to non-conference game in 2024

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State University football team will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum when the Spartans face the University of Southern California in a non-conference game on September 7, 2024. Athletics Director Marie Tuite made the announcement on behalf of San Jose State.

The Spartans will be playing USC for the first time since the 2009 season opener for both teams. USC won each of the four previous meetings between these teams in the Coliseum. The Trojans were ranked #7-nationally in 1995, #9 in 2000, unranked to start the 2001 season, and #4 in 2009 heading into the San Jose State game.

The Spartans will be returning to the Los Angeles metropolitan area for football for the first time since 2011 when San Jose State faced UCLA at the Rose Bowl in a non-conference game.

The 2019 Spartans open their season on Thursday, August 29, hosting Northern Colorado in CEFCU Stadium. For tickets to San Jose State football games, visit www.sjsuspartans.com or call (408) 924-7589.

Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Cal heads to ASU in hopes to pick up their first Pac-12 win of the season Wednesday

Photo credit: @CalMBBall

On the Cal Bears basketball podcast with Morris:

#1 The Cal Bears (5-20) head into Wednesday night’s game to face the ASU Sun Devils (17-8). The Bears are winless in the Pac-12, could they go winless for the rest of the way at this rate?

#2 The Bears’ big highlight in their 89-66 loss to the USC Trojans (14-12) on Saturday night was a three-pointer from Jacob Orender in the closing minutes of the game.

#3 The Trojans’ Benny Boatwright made himself at home with 36 points and 10 assists. With Boatwright, was it a matter trying to contain everyone or was Boatwright USC’s go to guy all night long?

#4 Bears head coach Wyking Jones said that the defensive woes carried into the offensive woes. How so?

#5 It’s off to Arizona State University for a Wednesday night tip with the Sun Devils. What are the Bears’ odds to get their first win this season in this one?

Morris does the Cal Bears podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Stanford beats USC in a 79-76 thriller from Maples

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Joey Friedman

PALO ALTO — The Stanford Cardinal (13-11, 6-6) hosted the USC Trojans (13-12, 6-6) at Maples and won by a final of 79-76 in dramatic fashion.

Just three days ago, The Cardinal displayed one of their worst offensive performances of the season on the road at Oregon. They were held to just 46 total points and shot a meager 27.3% from the field and 16.7% from beyond the arc after missing all of their first 13 shots.

Stanford wore their gray uniforms while USC donned their black ones, which in fact was the same uniform combination featured on highlight reels of last year’s matchup between these two foes during which then-freshman Daejon Davis hit a miracle half-court buzzer-beater to give Stanford the edge in a 77-76 victory.

To start in what was called “a redemption game” by Bryce Wills, Stanford couldn’t find their rhythm offensively without sophomore point guard Daejon Davis in the lineup. He remained out against the Trojans and has sat for the last two games after a head-to-head collision in the road game at Oregon State. He averages 12.6 points per game.

It was more of the same in the early going for the Cardinal at Maples against USC. For much for the first half, they were held to a shooting percentage below 30% and, with 6 minutes left to play, were at their greatest deficit with the score 34-20 in favor of the Trojans.

On the back of 3 first half blocks from Oscar Da Silva, however, they were able to shift the momentum and ended up shortening the deficit to only 5 points when Marcus Sheffield hit Stanford’s first three-pointer of the night with two and a half minutes to play until the break. The Card finished the half shooting just 1-9 from three-point range.

The Trojans took a 40-35 lead to the half while Stanford managed to inch their shooting percentage up to 35%. The only scorer with double digits in the point column in the first half was USC freshman guard Kevin Porter Jr. who had 10 points and 4 rebounds. Stanford sophomores Oscar Da Silva and KZ Okpala each finished the half with 7 points. Entering the game, Stanford was 5-0 in games in which Oscar Da Silva scores more than 13 points.

The Cardinal took their first lead of the night on senior center Josh Sharma’s jump hook with 12 minutes left in the game and the score 52-51. The jump hook gave Sharma his 9th and 10th points of the night. Both he and KZ Okpala combined for 14 of Stanford’s first 17 points in the second half.

Stanford capped a productive first 12 minutes of the second half with another Marcus Sheffield three-pointer by which time the Cardinal had extended their lead to 6 points with the score 64-58 after making 8 of their last 9 shots from the field. Through the first 12 minutes of the second half alone, both offense and defense flowed and Stanford had amassed a 65% shooting percentage, had forced 7 turnovers, and had converted those turnovers into 9 points.

The Trojans responded with a 10-0 run over the next two and a half minutes to take a four-point lead before KZ Okpala made a jumper and Marcus Sheffield, once again, hit another three-pointer to give Stanford a 69-68 lead with 3:45 remaining.

The Trojans and Cardinal exchanged blows until, with a four-point deficit and under 50 seconds left in the game, Marcus Sheffield nailed a three-pointer to put Stanford within one point. Stanford defended well and forced a turnover on a poor pass from USC junior forward Nick Rakocevic.

On the next offensive possession, Stanford pulled ahead for the final time on an acrobatic Bryce Wills and-1 layup. After Wills’ missed a free throw, USC had a chance to respond with 12 seconds left, but the Trojans were once again well-defended by the Card and senior forward Bennie Boatwright missed what would’ve been a game-winning jumper. After a successive Bryce Wills rebound, USC hopelessly fouled Wills before he ironed out the 79-76 win with a pair of made free throws.

For the Cardinal, in Daejon Davis’ absence, 5 players stepped up and scored 10 or more points, most notably KZ Okpala had 18 points and Marcus Sheffield had a personal season-high 16 points (4-6 on three-point shots). Josh Sharma had 14 points and 9 rebounds, Bryce Wills had 11 points and 6 rebounds, and Oscar Da Silva had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Stanford finished by shooting a total of 46% from the field and 32% from three (6-19).

For the Trojans, Bennie Boatwright finished with a team-high 19 points and 6 rebounds, Jonah Matthews finished with 16 points, Nick Rakocevic finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Kevin Porter Jr. finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds. USC shot the lights out, especially from beyond the arc when they shot 48.1% from the field and 58.3% from distance.

What’s next?
Stanford will host UCLA on Saturday for a 7 PM evening tip before going on their last regular season road trip of the season as they visit the Washington schools.

USC will do battle with the struggling Cal Bears in Berkeley at 5 PM on Saturday before they host the Oregon schools in their last regular season homestand.

Stanford returns home to host USC Wednesday night

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By: Ana Kieu

The Stanford Cardinal held onto a three-game winning streak with wins over Oregon State, Cal and Colorado, and Oscar da Silva averaged 17.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. But the Cardinal (12-11, 5-6 Pac-12) dug themselves in a hole and never recovered as the Oregon Ducks (15-9, 6-5 Pac-12) on Sunday evening as they were routed by 20-plus points in a 69-46 loss at the Matthew Knight Arena.

While the Matthew Knight Arena may not have been as loud as the Autzen Stadium, the Ducks men’s basketball team draws a decent amount of fans, too. After all, Oregon is a pretty prominent university, despite what the East Coast media guys and gals might say. The Ducks currently rank fifth in the Pac-12 standings.

In case you missed it, Stanford was held to 46 points for the second time this season, making 15-of-55 field goal attempts (27 percent) for their second-worst shooting night of the season. Oregon, however, hit 44 percent from the field (26-of-59) and held a 41-37 rebounding edge. The Ducks cruised to a 69-46 loss. Payton Pritchard led the Ducks with 20 points. Louis Kings scored 16 points and Victor Bailey came off the bench to score 11 points. When it came down to defense, Kenny Wooten matched his career high with seven blocks.

The Ducks won four of their last five games, while the Cardinal suffered a tough loss. Of course, Stanford can rebound and defeat the rival USC Trojans (13-11, 6-5 Pac-12), but that’s going to take some work, as USC is three steps ahead in the Pac-12 standings. Stanford can’t afford to go through another shooting slump in the early moments of the first half as they recently wrapped their second-worst, first-half shooting performance of the 2019 season with only 27.3 percent from the field.

The Cardinal left the Beaver State with a split of the Oregon-based schools, but until good news comes along, they remain without the services of Daejon Davis, who suffered a head-to-head injury last Thursday against Oregon State. The Cardinal now turn their attention to their upcoming homestand as they’ll play five of their next seven games at home, which can benefit them if home court advantage helps them in their favor. The Cardinal just have to get to take on USC Wednesday evening at 8:00 pm PT on ESPNU.

Notes: The Cardinal wished the best to Washington Wizards point guard and Stanford alum Chasson Randle, who was given the nod after Czech point guard and shooting guard Tomas Satoransky was out Monday due to a personal matter. Randle, a Rockland, Ill. native, attended Rock Island High School and Stanford University. Randle went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft and played in the states as well as abroad until re-signing with the Wizards on Dec. 18, 2018.

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Morris Phillips: At this rate, Cal can only reboot and play for pride now

Photo credit: @CalMBBall

On the Cal Bears podcast with Morris:

#1 The Utah Utes head coach  Larry Krystkowiak saw his offense get it in gear against the Cal Bears instantly on offense, but the defense took awhile to get it in gear, but once they did, the Bears were pretty much done.

#2 The home floor didn’t help for Cal. They lost 82-64. They’ve struggled at home and have not won game this season.

#3  Krystkowiak said in the postgame presser that the first half was a shootout and that the offense was expending with a lot more energy. Knowing the struggles of the Bears and with the Utes climbing on offense did the Bears even have a chance to shut the Utes down in that first half.

#4 The Utes helped their own cause in the Pac-12 standings with their fourth straight win and now in a second place tie with USC.

#5 Cal’s attendance is shrinking with each loss and the fans and alum can’t give away a ticket as Cal drops to a 5-15 record. Cal’s next home game this Sun Feb 3 against the Stanford Cardinal.

Morris is the Cal Bears beat writer and does the Cal podcasts with Michael Duca weekly at http://www.sportsradioservice.com