Stewart had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Trojans, who
got double-figure scoring from all five starters and held off a
late rally by Stanford for a 82-71 victory on Saturday.
Nick Young had 16 points, Francis a career-high 15, and Gabe
Pruitt 14. Francis made the play of the game, stealing the ball
from Chris Hernandez after an inbounds play and converting a layup
that gave the Trojans an eight-point cushion with 2:27 remaining.
"Ryan has a lot of heart and toughness. He never takes a play
off," coach Tim Floyd said. "As a freshman, he plays with great
poise that we have come to count on. He really doesn't play like a
Stanford shot 42 percent from the field, only the second time in
11 games that the Trojans (10-3, 1-1 Pac-10) failed to hold an
opponent under 40 percent. The Cardinal also ended a streak of 11
games in which USC gave up fewer than 70 points -- the Trojans'
longest such streak since a 13-game stretch in 1959-60.
Both teams were coming off losses on Thursday that ended
impressive winning streaks. USC had won nine in a row before losing
62-58 to California, and Stanford had beaten UCLA eight straight
times at Pauley Pavilion before losing 71-54.
"We knew we had to get this victory because you don't want to
start the Pac-10 season 0-2, so we did everything we possibly
could," Young said. "I knew it was going to be a tough game
because they don't give up and they always play hard."
Lawrence Hill had 20 points and seven rebounds for Stanford
(4-6, 0-2 Pac-10), which had won the previous six regular-season
meetings with USC and 13 of 16.
Stanford forward Matt Haryasz left the game with 14:11 remaining
after going down with a sprained left ankle and finished with seven
points, ending his streak of 24 consecutive games in double-digit
scoring. Peter Prowitt, who played only one minute during the first
half, replaced him and capped a 15-3 run with a pair of free throws
that narrowed the gap to 63-57 with 6:09 to play.
Dan Grunfeld, who scored 17 points, made a 3-pointer that pulled
Stanford within 64-60. But the Cardinal got no closer and fell to
4-0 on the road as USC closed with a 20-9 run.
"It was encouraging to see us get in a rhythm at the end, but
we just couldn't stop the ball at crucial times," Stanford coach
Trent Johnson said. "They hurt us off transition. We got
outrebounded by eight, and we couldn't get stops defensively."
USC opened the second half with a 13-2 spurt that increased its
seven-point lead to 49-31 with 15:56 to play. Stewart helped fuel
the rally with a 3-pointer, a driving layup and two free throws.
Stanford attempted 16 jump shots in the first half and made only
two. After Hill's two free throws gave the Cardinal their only lead
at 7-6, USC pulled ahead 25-16 with a 19-9 run capped by Stewart's
3-pointer and 16-foot bank shot.
Abdoulaye N'Diaye increased the margin to 13 points, USC's
biggest of the first half, on a layup 3 1-2 minutes before
intermission. He finished with a career-high 11 points and seven