Trojans Suffer a Meltdown : After USC Takes Lead, Stanford Takes Over for a 68-52 Victory

Times Staff Writer

George Raveling, USC basketball coach, kept staring at the scoreboard during Monday night's game against Stanford at the Sports Arena.

"I thought the scoreboard was broken," Raveling said "It seemed like we were stuck on 49 (points) forever."

The scoreboard was functioning properly, but the same cannot be said of Trojans, who unraveled like a cheap suit in the final 10 minutes of a 68-52 loss to No. 16-ranked Stanford before 2,531 fans.

Stanford blitzed USC, 19-1, in the final 10 minutes to beat the Trojans for the 10th consecutive time.

"In the second half we just did a horrible job of attacking the zone," Raveling said. "We didn't get any penetration and we weren't able to hit the outside shots. And out of frustration some players started to go one-on-one."

Forward Ronnie Coleman, who scored 26 points, including 17 in the first half, said USC's offense was out of sync against Stanford's 1-1-3 zone.

"We just took a few shots too fast," Coleman said. "We were rushing our shots."

Raveling also played role in USC's demise.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Trojans outscored the Cardinal, 12-3, at the start of the second half to take a 43-42 lead.

But Raveling was called a technical foul with 13:59 remaining after complaining that Stanford center Eric Reveno was playing too aggressively while checking Coleman under the basket.

"I had to get the official's attention because they were mugging Coleman in there," Raveling said. "I didn't swear (at the official). I was just grabbing my clothes telling them that Reveno was holding Coleman's clothes."

Stanford scored five straight points after Raveling's outburst to take command of the game.

Todd Lichti made two foul shots after the technical to give Stanford a 44-43 lead and Scott Meinert added a three-point shot.

Raveling, however, didn't think the technical was a critical call.

"I felt at that point in the game the technical didn't have that much effect," Raveling said. "There were 14 minutes to go."

Indeed, USC did rally to within a point after the technical before its offense conked out. The Trojans missed 11 consecutive shots before Ken Countryman hit a three-point shot with four seconds remaining.

USC is 8-18 overall and 1-13 in the Pacific 10 Conference, and Stanford is 21-5 overall and 12-3 in the Pac-10.

Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery was worried that the Cardinal would overlook USC, which lost 13 straight before beating Arizona State last weekend.

But the Cardinal had enough left to overtake the Trojans.

"We really dodged a bullet tonight," Montgomery said. "I was worried about this game and rightly so. But we finally switched gears and got going again."

Forward Howard Wright scored 20 points for Stanford and Lichti added 16.

Wright had eight points and one assist in the Cardinal's surge and Lichti added four points and three assists.

USC Notes

Harold Miner, a 6-foot-5 guard from Inglewood High who has already signed with USC, watched the Trojans play for the first time this season. Asked if he can help turn around USC, Miner smiled and said, "I think I can." . . . USC plays Washington State Thursday at 8 p.m. Turi Carter, USC reserve forward, sat out the game with a sprained toe.

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