Trojans win with a little pep

first_img• Photo Gallery: USC vs. Stanford LOS ANGELES – If you build it, they will come. At Stanford last month, the Cardinal raced out to a 12-2 lead and beat USC by 15 points. This time, the Trojans came out ready to play, thanks to the speech from Carroll, who told the players not to get pushed around by Stanford again and reminded them that the football team hasn’t lost at home in five years. Young got the Trojans off to a hot start by scoring nine of the team’s first 11 points – including an incredible reverse layup. USC led 15-8 early. RouSean Cromwell made his second start of the season at forward to help match up with Stanford’s 7-foot twin towers of Brook and Robin Lopez. Brook dominated USC inside in Palo Alto with a school-record 12 blocks. Cromwell set the tone early that the Trojans wouldn’t be pushed around again, making two blocks of his own. Greg Pruitt started the team off well in the second half, dishing to Cromwell for a two-handed dunk, then hitting a 3-pointer to put USC ahead 41-30 two minutes in. Stanford made a run, getting within 43-40 on a basket by Robin Lopez inside. Then USC started taking over the game on defense with intensity and quick hands the way Stanford did with its size last month. Pruitt made steals that set up fastbreaks on consecutive plays, scoring on a reverse layup the first time down and then setting up Taj Gibson to make two foul shots. Then Stewart made two steals, the second one leading to a layup from Pruitt to give USC its biggest lead of the game at 58-45. Stanford closed to within three points in the final minute. But Young hit four free throws surrounding an offensive foul by the Cardinal’s Landry Fields to clinch the victory. After the game, Stewart was getting his picture taken with Washington in the outer part of the locker room. “We’re on a mission,” Stewart said. “We know we have a lot of support of Denzel is here.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Pete Carroll came in, got us pumped up and we fed off that energy,” said Nick Young, who led USC with 22 points. We went out there and tried to play like the football team.” With the victory, USC (20-8, 10-5) moved out of a third-place tie with the Cardinal and avenged its worst Pac-10 loss of the season. The Trojans hadn’t lost consecutive games this season and were following a defeat to Arizona State – previously winless in 14 conference games – making it intriguing how USC would fare against a Stanford team that beat it by 15 points in Palo Alto. “That game just made us wake up,” Lodrick Stewart said of the Sun Devils loss. “If we don’t come and play every night, that can happen.” USC made it to 20 victories for the 16th time in the program’s 100-year history and first since the 2001-02 season – the last time the Trojans made the NCAA tournament. center_img Coming off its most embarrassing loss of the season and going against the one Pacific 10 Conference team it had been dominated by, USC had plenty of support Thursday. Football coach Pete Carroll pumped up the team with a pep talk before the game and Denzel Washington celebrated with them in the locker room after a 69-65 victory over Stanford in front of 9,560 at the Galen Center. last_img read more