STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Taj Gibson took the ball and drove right at Brook Lopez only to have the shot come right back at him. Undeterred, Gibson went back up and Lopez once again blocked.
That sequence early in the second half typified this game. Whenever Southern California took a shot, it seemed as if Brook Lopez or his twin brother Robin was there to swat it.
Brook Lopez blocked a school-record 12 shots to go along with 18 points and 11 rebounds, helping Stanford spoil No. 25 USC’s first game as a ranked team in five years with a 65-50 victory Thursday night.
Lopez dominated the inside for the Cardinal (13-5, 5-3 Pac-10) and overwhelmed the Trojans, scoring six points and blocking three shots during a 12-0 run that put the Cardinal up 22 midway through the second half.
The triple-double was the first since at least 1985 for the Cardinal. School records further back weren’t immediately available.
“He’s going to be a lottery pick after tonight,” Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. “He was exceptional at the defensive end. The main thing for him is being consistent.”
After USC (15-6, 5-3) answered with a 13-0 run to cut it to nine, Lopez hit a jumper to end a scoreless stretch of 7:10 for the Cardinal. He blocked his 11th shot and then scored on an alley-oop from Anthony Goods with about 2 minutes left to thwart USC’s final comeback attempt.
Lopez’s 12 blocks—one shy of his season total coming into the game—were more than any team ever had against the Trojans, topping the 11 for Wyoming in 1983. Along with three blocks by Robin Lopez and four for Lawrence Hill, Stanford set a school record with 19 blocks and held USC to 28 percent shooting.
“It’s just timing I guess,” Brook Lopez said. “I learned from Robin in high school. He was always a better shot blocker than me. I think my record is in trouble because of Robin.”
Hill added 18 points and nine rebounds and Anthony Goods had 10 points for the Cardinal, who have won five of six heading into a showdown with No. 3 UCLA on Sunday.
“Our reward for beating them is now we get to play someone even better,” Johnson said.
Nick Young scored 13 points, Gibson added 11 and Gabe Pruitt had 10 for the Trojans.
USC scored nine straight points run early in the second half to cut Stanford’s lead to 10. But the Lopez twins took over after that to put the game out of reach. Robin Lopez started the 12-0 run with a dunk.
Brook Lopez blocked Gibson twice on one trip, giving him a school record seven blocks and hit a turnaround jumper to make it 45-29. Lopez added another block about a minute later and scored again at the other end.
After Hill blocked Young for Stanford’s school record 14th, Lopez’s dunk capped the run and made it 51-29 with 11:12 to go.
“This isn’t the usual Stanford team anymore,” Young said. “Man, those guys (the Lopez twins) got in our way, big time. Long arms, and can they jump. They seemed to know exactly what we were going to do on every play. They are just too much.”
USC had won four of five games to move into the AP poll for the first time in five years. It seemed as if it would take almost as long for the Trojans to score a basket.
The Trojans struggled even to get the ball on the rim as the twins blocked or altered nearly every shot. USC missed its first eight shots and the closest the Trojans came to scoring a basket early came when a pass by Lodrick Stewart hit the rim.
“Their big guys influenced the game by influencing shots,” USC coach Tim Floyd said. “We didn’t shoot for a good percentage because of the way we were defended.”
Young scored the first basket for USC 6:40 into the game. The Lopez block party didn’t slow down, with Brook Lopez blocking his fifth shot of the game with 8:23 to play in the half and Robin getting his third about a minute later.
Even when the 7-foot twins weren’t in position to block a shot, USC’s players missed easy shots inside as if they were waiting for the block to come.
“With those guys back there it lets us guard the perimeter and not worry,” Hill said.
Young scored USC’s first four baskets and no one else made a hoop until Gibson’s jumper with 6:56 to go cut Stanford’s lead to 24-15.
But the Cardinal went on a 10-1 after that, getting 3-pointers from Hill and Mitch Johnson, to build the lead back to 18. USC shot 7-for-30 in the half, with 10 of the misses coming on blocks, and trailed 37-20 at the break.
“I’m not sure we can defend for 20 minutes in the first half as well as we did tonight,” Johnson said. “We did a very good job altering shots and blocking shots.”