In a season that has featured long stretches of losses, USC on Sunday wasted a chance to actually extend a winning streak.
The Trojans had defeated Stanford six consecutive times at home.
Unfortunately for USC, that streak ended in a fashion characteristic of so many defeats this season.
USC stayed close for the first half and then fell victim to its own dismal shooting as Stanford built a 20-point lead and cruised to a 59-47 victory at the Galen Center.
“We had a ton of good shots, which equals a ton of good misses,” said Coach Kevin O’Neill, whose team made only 31% of its field-goal attempts. “That’s the way it is right now.”
It has been that way for awhile and it doesn’t bode well for a USC team that fell to 6-20 overall and 1-12 in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Trojans play UCLA at the Sports Arena on Wednesday. They won’t play again after that until they travel to the Arizona schools eight days later, before concluding the regular season at home against the Washington schools.
If the Trojans have a shooting drought similar to Sunday’s, they could easily finish the season with another nine-game losing streak.
Despite not making a shot in the final five minutes of the first half, the Trojans were behind only 20-18 at halftime.
But they did not make a shot until more than five minutes elapsed in the second half.
In the interim, Stanford built a 10-point lead.
“We got some good shots to start the half and we just weren’t making them,” said Byron Wesley, who scored 13 points.
The Trojans cut the deficit to 35-33 on Maurice Jones’ acrobatic drive to the basket before the Cardinal began pulling away for a victory that improved its record to 17-8 and 7-6 in Pac-12 play.
Guard Chasson Randle scored all of game-high 16 points in the second half, making four of five three-point shots.
Stanford limited USC to one offensive rebound and outrebounded the Trojans, 45-19.
O’Neill said the Trojans would take Monday off and practice Tuesday at the Sports Arena in preparation for what will be a road game there against UCLA.
Afterward, USC’s depleted roster will take three days to rest and regroup for the final four games and the Pac-12 tournament.
“I want to try to keep us as mentally fresh as we can and as physically fresh,” O’Neill said, “because they’ve got to be getting a little worn down, that’s all there is to it.”