The USC basketball team is off to a strong start in Pac-12 conference play, winning its first two games for the first time since 2010.
USC defeated Stanford, 77-66, and won its fourth straight game Sunday night at the Galen Center.
Junior forward Nick Rakocevic scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Bennie Boatwright finished with 22 points.
“It was a good win,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “Stanford is a good team. They played at a high level in the second half. We were fortunate to win.”
Stanford outscored USC 15-6 to cut the lead to 37-36 with four and a half minutes into the second half. The Trojans went on an 11-0 run to take a 68-55 lead with 2:22 remaining in the game.
“I was super aggressive and maintained it through the whole game, Rakocevic said. “My teammates did a great job finding me. The crowd got us into it and made us more hyped to play.”
USC held 13-point lead before heading into halftime up, 31-21. The Trojans scores the first 13 points of the game.
Junior guard Jonah Mathews twisted his ankle at 14:29 of the second half with USC leading 41-36. When he returned it was 46-all. Mathews finished with 11 points.
“(Jonah’s injury) scared us,” Rakocevic said. “We’re extremely short of players. Right there, I was shaking. We’re all glad he was able to come back and finish the game.”
USC’s next game will be at Oregon State on Thursday at 8 p.m.
“The Pac-12 is wide open,” Boatwright said. “We just have to handle business and understand we have to get better.”