Their suffocating defense was wavering. Their grip atop the Pac-12 had already slipped amid an ice-cold two-loss trip to the Rockies. But USC was still holding on for dear life in a dead heat atop the conference, still clinging to second place as Oregon caught fire and UCLA fell apart in the minutes before Wednesday’s tipoff.
Just nine days ago, USC held its title fate in its own hands. But that felt like ancient history now after the losses to Arizona and Colorado and Utah. After winning 13 of 14, the Trojans had dropped three of four, ready to take all of its frustrations out on a Stanford team missing its leading scorer.