Stanford Men's Basketball: Recap: Stanford MBB upsets #5 USC at Maples
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Recap: Stanford MBB upsets #5 USC at Maples

Harrison Ingram celebrates before getting interviewed by Bill Walton.
Harrison Ingram celebrates before getting interviewed by Bill Walton. (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)

On Tuesday, Stanford men’s basketball handed #5 USC their first loss of the season at Maples Pavilion, winning by a final score of 75-69. Stanford freshman forward Harrison Ingram had a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds while junior forward Spencer Jones had 21 points as well. USC junior guard Boogie Ellis was the top scorer for the Trojans with 14 points. This is Stanford’s first win over a top five team since January 28, 2007 in which they beat UCLA by a very similar 75-68 score. Stanford improves to 9-4 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12 while USC falls to 13-1 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12.

“That’s a big time win for our program needless to say,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said after the game. “Getting wins against top five teams in the country is not something that comes around every day. I do think USC is worthy of that ranking. I think they’re a fantastic team. They execute what they do at a very very high level. Obviously they have size, they have shooting, and they’re really good 15 feet and in in a lot of different ways.

“But from our standpoint, I thought we executed our plan well. I think the guys especially in the second half embraced the ideas of what we had talked about. We shared the basketball I thought very very well. In the second half we got shots and didn’t turn the ball over, which I thought was really important and we had a bunch of guys make timely plays. Whether it was free throws, three point shots, plays at the rim, and then defensively I thought we were really active.

“But it’s a game again that we’re proud to win, I’m proud of the guys and we’ve had a very very extended lay off of most of our guys, minimum 10 days in quarantine and some of the guys even going home for a few days for Christmas and not doing anything and then testing positive and having upwards of 13, 14 days without activity. So, I was a little bit concerned coming in about our conditioning and obviously those questions were answered. The guys did a heck of a job.”

USC got out to an early 10-7 lead with 15:30 to go in the half. Harrison Ingram already had 5 points for the Cardinal, knocking down a triple. USC was shooting 4-7 from the field while Stanford was shooting 3-6.

Stanford would soon take a 15-13 lead with 12:50 to go in the half as sophomore forward Brandon Angel was up to 8 points, heating up rather quickly. Stanford was on an 8-0 run. With 11:54 to go in the half, it was now a 16-16 game as Stanford senior Jaiden Delaire just went 1-2 at the foul line.

With 7:58 to go in the half, USC led 22-21. Harrison Ingram was up to 7 points and 5 rebounds for Stanford after knocking down a pair of free throws. He was off to a very nice start early on. The Cardinal were hanging around.

USC would then extend their lead to go up 30-23 with 3:05 to go in the half. Ellis was up to 8 points for the Trojans. Both teams were struggling to shoot as USC was shooting 12-28 (42.9%) from the field while Stanford was shooting 8-24 (33.3%).

Rather than letting USC take a double digit lead into the half, Stanford instead responded with a 6-0 run to close the half, making it a 33-32 USC lead at halftime. Harrison Ingram was unable to convert a 1 and 1 at the end of the half, but Stanford was right there with USC.

Spencer Jones (11 points) and Harrison Ingram (10 points) were leading the way for the Cardinal. Every time USC looked like they might pull away, Stanford found a way to bounce back. Boogie Ellis’ 10 points was leading USC.

“It just comes to our number one key to the game plan which was be the toughest team out there,” Jones said of how they stayed in the game. “We knew it was going to be a battle boxing out all those big guys, Mobley, Peterson, all these 6’7”, 6’9” guys and we just kept battling. We knew we could never give up that aspect and I mean we may have lost the rebounding battle by one, but we were the toughest team out there.”

“What Coach Haase always says is believe,” Ingram added. “We all believed we were going to win the game. So we never gave up.”

With 15:13 to go, the game would be tied 42-42. After getting a nice slam dunk in transition, Ingram picked up a technical foul for yelling at a USC player. USC would make both technical free throws to make it a 44-42 game. Ingram was up to 12 points while Jones was up to 17 points on 6-10 shooting from the field and 3-6 shooting from 3-point range.

“Going through the play, I kinda got a fast break dunk and I just lost focus mentally and I was just fired up,” Ingram said of the play. “The ref teed me up for talking a little trash and just Coach Haase kinda got me back on track saying if I need to talk, talk to him, talk trash to him and firing up my teammates on defense as lock in on defense and everything came on offense.”

Noah Taitz would shortly hit back-to-back threes while Spencer Jones got a nice bucket inside, giving him 19 points for the afternoon. Stanford now led 52-49 with 10:46 to go. Stanford already had 9 fouls. It was critical that they weather the storm and not allow foul trouble to do them in.

“I didn’t bring it up a whole lot to be honest,” Haase said of the foul trouble. “What we wanted to do was shrink the court as much as possible to take away driving lanes and take away the things at the basket and early at the half we racked up the fouls quickly, maybe a step slow, but also playing really good players that know how to draw fouls. So no question we were in foul trouble. Got them to the free throw line a lot and at the same time we’re not going to be able to guard everything perfectly. So it was a factor in the game, but we were able to weather that storm.”

USC would soon retake the lead to go up 55-54 with 7:52 to go. James Keefe had a huge bucket inside for Stanford plus the foul. Stanford needed to get in the bonus soon. It was really a battle on the glass as USC had a 27-24 rebounding edge.

With 2:59 to go, the game was tied 64-64. Keefe was doing work on the glass on both ends. He got another huge bucket inside. Ingram was set to go to the foul line after a nice field goal attempt in the post. The Cardinal were hanging tough.

“Yes, they battled hard,” Haase said of his team. “They were fighting for the rebounds. We only gave up four offensive rebounds. The numbers ended up being very very close, we lost by one in terms of the rebound numbers. But yeah, this is a game. This is a man’s game where people are going to be hitting and fighting and scrapping and clawing and our guys joined that fight today.”

Harrison Ingram would make both of his foul shots, making it a 70-66 lead for Stanford with 1:01 to go. Now it was just a matter of playing good defense and not bailing USC out with a silly foul or turnover.

USC would be unable to score on their next possession and after securing a defensive rebound, Stanford had the ball with 43.1 to go. They were in the driver’s seat. With 23.5 to go, Stanford called for time still having possession. 5 seconds were on the shot clock. It was just a matter of finishing strong.

Michael O’Connell connecting with Spencer Jones for a transition layup with 7 seconds to go made it a 74-68 lead for Stanford. At this point, it was certain Stanford would win and they did, walking out with a 75-69 victory.

For Stanford, this is a huge win. Both for this season and just from an historical perspective. It had been nearly 15 years since Stanford knocked off a top five team and by winning this game, their NCAA tournament resume just got a nice boost. While Harrison Ingram and Spencer Jones were the stars of this game, it really was a team effort. They did a great job on the boards, losing the rebounding battle by just one rebound (33-32) and everyone that played found a way to contribute something. Whether it was Noah Taitz hitting back-to-back threes, James Keefe grabbing some clutch rebounds, or Isa Silva hitting a floater to beat the shot clock. Everyone chipped in and as a result, Stanford walked out with a win.

“Definitely just the way they were playing me,” Ingram said of what allowed him to have a career high in points. “They were kinda playing off with Mobley guarding me and he was kinda letting me shoot threes. And I’ve been working on my shot every day with Coach Crocker and just the rest of the coaching staff and in practice just knowing and trusting my shot. My teammates trusting to pass the ball to me and shoot open threes and get out in transition.”

“Well it was a group,” Haase said of the win. “It truly is hard to single guys out. But Harrison was great, Noah came in and gave great minutes as well. But a lot of the stuff too wasn’t necessarily points. It was deflections on defense or one-on-one battles in the post. So we’ve said it a thousand times and we’ll continue to say it. It was a team effort, a group effort. But it certainly helps things when Spencer is making a couple threes, Noah is making a couple threes, and Harrison certainly stepped up his game and was a focal point of our success.”

Probably the most impressive part of this win is the fact that Stanford hadn’t played since before Christmas due to going through COVID protocols. The fact that they came out as strong as they did is really a testament to the coaching staff and the entire team for buying in and figuring out how to stay ready.

“I mean, it was honestly a struggle to figure out what we're going to do, because we were getting one or two guys back every other day,” Jones said. “So, kudos to Mike Chat and our whole staff. Just figuring out what we need to do to make sure everybody’s in shape and everybody’s ready to play and everybody was and it showed.”

“We had a lot of people out,” Ingram added. “Just coming back and I just got back four days ago and for five days in a row they had us work out, no breaks. Kudos to Mike Chat and Coach Crocker.”

Up next for Stanford is a road trip to the Pacific Northwest to face the Washington schools. Up first will be Washington State on Thursday in Pullman. That game will tipoff at 2:00 PM PT on ESPNU and Cardinal Sports Network radio.

Note: Stanford freshman 7-footer Maxime Raynaud was not available for the game as he is still in quarantine/going through COVID protocols. Stanford doesn’t have a timetable for his return at this time, but Jerod Haase said that they hope to get him back soon.

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