January 7, 2019 / 3:36 AM / 9 months ago

Rakocevic drives USC past Stanford

Junior forward Nick Rakocevic scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as USC held off a second-half comeback attempt by Stanford to earn a 77-66 Pac-12 Conference victory on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Senior forward Bennie Boatwright added 22 points as the Trojans (9-6, 2-0) won their first two conference games for the first time since 2010.

Freshman guard Cormac Ryan scored 18 points, all in the second half, as Stanford (7-7, 0-2) played away from home for the ninth time in 14 games. Sophomore guard Daejon Davis, who did not play in Thursday’s defeat at UCLA because of injury, scored 14 points for the Cardinal.

USC controlled the first half, taking a 31-21 lead into the break after holding the Cardinal to just eight made field goals in the opening 20 minutes while forcing nine turnovers. But Stanford controlled the early part of the second half, taking a 46-43 lead with 12:45 remaining on a KZ Okpala 3-pointer.

Stanford led 52-51 with 9:32 remaining before USC went on a 17-3 run to take a 68-55 lead with 2:22 remaining on a Rakocevic free throw. Rakocevic has 50 points in his first two Pac-12 games after scoring a career-high 27 in a victory over Cal on Thursday.

After a quiet first half, junior guard Derryck Thornton had 13 points and nine assists, giving him 21 assists in the first two conference games as USC extended its winning streak to a season-best four games.

Rakocevic recorded his seventh double-double of the season and his first since Dec. 15 against Oklahoma.

Okpala, a sophomore who entered as the sixth leading scorer in the conference at 17 points per game, had 12 points while playing all 40 minutes.

USC was down to seven scholarship players because of various injuries and lost junior guard Jonah Mathews for a short stretch in the second half when he went to the locker room with an apparent ankle injury. Mathews finished with 11 points.

—Field Level Media

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