Stanford and Southern California are both coming off disappointing defeats, but only one of them will have to overcome an 0-2 start in conference play.
Both teams look to bounce back Saturday from losses in their Pac-10 openers when the No. 24 Cardinal host the No. 22 Trojans, who have dropped their last five visits to Maples Pavilion.
Of the four Pac-10 teams to play at home Thursday, Stanford (11-2, 0-1) was the only to lose, falling 76-67 to No. 5 UCLA. The Cardinal had their seven-game winning streak snapped.
USC (9-4, 0-1) fell 92-82 at California on Thursday in O.J. Mayo’s Pac-10 debut. The loss could not be blamed on the star freshman, who was spectacular in scoring a season-high 34 points.
The Trojans, however, were poor in defending the 3-point arc as the Golden Bears made 11 of 25 attempts.
“We were down throughout the game and right when you get in reach there’s another 3,” Mayo said. “It happened time and time again. … Any time as a team you give up 92 points it’s going to be tough to win on the road. They shot well from the arc but we have to communicate better on defense.”
USC had not allowed more than 75 points in any game since its surprising 96-81 loss to Mercer in its season opener on Nov. 10. The Trojans had held seven straight opponents under 40 percent from the field before letting Cal shoot 49.2 percent.
They also struggled down the stretch offensively as Mayo, second in the Pac-10 with an average of 20.6 points, was the only USC player to make a basket in the final eight minutes.
“We have to play smarter and that has something to do with the young guys that are out there,” coach Tim Floyd said.
The Trojans haven’t won at Stanford since 2002, losing 65-50 in last season’s visit. USC, however, won the next two meetings, including an 83-79 overtime win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
Stanford 7-footer Brook Lopez had just six points in that loss after averaging 20.5 points in the two regular-season meetings. Lopez also had a tough time in Thursday’s loss to the Bruins.
In just his fourth game since returning from a suspension for being academically ineligible, Lopez fouled out with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting and eight rebounds. He shot 50 percent (20-of-40) in his first three games while averaging 19.3 points.
“We had shots that didn’t go down for us in the post and their quickness caused us some problems,” Stanford coach Trent Johnson said.
Anthony Goods scored 17 points to lead the Cardinal, who fell to 7-1 at home. Backcourt mate Mitch Johnson added 10 points, but Stanford finished with a season-low nine assists on 27 baskets.
“I felt we were right there the entire game,” Goods said. “We had a couple of missed blockouts, especially on free throws, that really hurt. They made the plays down the stretch and started to open up the lead.”
Stanford forward Lawrence Hill had another poor effort with six points. He has scored just 13 on 5-of-25 shooting in his last three games.
Hill averaged 19.5 points in the two regular-season games against USC last season, but had just three on 1-of-8 shooting in the Pac-10 tournament loss.