STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Trent Johnson shook his head as he read off some of Stanford’s stats from the boxscore. His Cardinal shot 27 percent from the field, had more than twice as many turnovers than assists and still somehow managed to win.
“It wasn’t pretty but we found a way,” Johnson said after the 24th-ranked Cardinal beat No. 22 Southern California 52-46.
“I guess that’s all that matters. I thought our guys were really, really resilient. It was a very physical game from start to finish.”
Fred Washington helped shut down heralded USC freshman O.J. Mayo, and the Cardinal (12-2, 1-1 Pac-10) avoided losing consecutive home games despite having their worst shooting game in more than eight years.
Stanford hadn’t shot this poorly since making 26 percent of its shots in a 62-49 win over UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 20, 1999.
“This is a testament to our D,” Washington said. “We know we can play defense like that. We should do that every game from here on out. We know offense will come and go. … The only person who shot good was Taj (Finger) and that was 1-for-1. That’s not going to happen every day. We were smoking layups left and right.”
The Trojans (9-5, 0-2) were almost as bad offensively, committing 23 turnovers and shooting 35 percent in scoring their fewest points since getting 45 against UCLA on Jan. 18, 2006.
Mayo, who averaged 20.6 points in his first 13 games, finished with 14 on 5-for-19 shooting as he struggled against Washington’s defense and the imposing inside presence of 7-foot twins Brook and Robin Lopez. Mayo, who had his worst shooting night as a collegian, also needed three stitches to close a cut over his right eye after the game.
“Some nights will be like this where the paint is pretty clogged up,” Mayo said. “They did a good job of protecting the lane and outside shots aren’t falling like we would like. Some nights will be like that.”
USC made a late charge in the final minutes, getting a 3-pointer by Mayo and a three-point play from Daniel Hackett to cut Stanford’s lead to 48-44 with 1:03 remaining. Taj Gibson then blocked Lawrence Hill at the other end but Hackett missed a 3-pointer that could have cut the deficit to one.
Anthony Goods made one of two free throws to make it 49-44 with 28.2 seconds remaining. Mayo hit two of three free throws with 17.9 seconds left, but Mitch Johnson hit a free throw to make it a four-point game.
Goods led Stanford with 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Washington added nine and Lawrence Hill had seven points and 13 rebounds.
Hackett finished with 12 points and Gibson added 11. After allowing 92 points in a loss at California on Thursday, it was the Trojans’ offense that did them in this time.
“I can live with losing to a team that shot 27 percent from the floor,” USC coach Tom Floyd said. “But that’s not as bad as giving up more than 50 percent from the field, which is what we did the other night.”
Brook Lopez, who went scoreless in seven foul-plagued minutes in the first half, slammed in a missed shot by Goods on the opening possession of the second half. The Cardinal scored the first seven points of the half to go up 35-26, extending a run that began in the final minute of the first half to 11-0.
USC made just two of nine shots and turned the ball over seven times in the first 12 minutes of the second half, but only trailed 41-34 because Stanford opened the half shooting 5-for-24.
During one particularly ugly stretch, Stanford botched a 3-on-1 break when Goods missed a wild layup attempt. Hill got the rebound but lost the ball as players sprawled all over the floor. Back at the other end, Angelo Johnson slipped and lost the ball for another turnover.
Stanford dominated the glass with 23 offensive rebounds, but often struggled to convert those chances into points as the Cardinal missed many shots from in close.
Mayo got off to a slow start, missing his first three shots and turning the ball over three times in the first 13 minutes. Mayo’s poor pass led to a breakaway layup by Johnson that gave Stanford a 22-14 lead.
“All you have to do is bother him,” Washington said. “That’s the only thing you can hope to do. You can’t really take anything away. He can shoot it off the dribble. I tried to make him work for everything. I tried to not let him have comfortable jump shots and send him in to Brook and Robin.”
Mayo hit a floater in the lane with 6:20 left in the half for his first points. He added two more baskets during a 12-2 run that gave USC a 26-24 lead.
Stanford went into the half with a 28-26 lead when Robin Lopez blocked Mayo’s drive, leading to Kenny Brown’s layup just before the buzzer.