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SO. CAL UNPLUGGED LATE SPARK PUTS STANFORD OVER USC STANFORD 77, USC 71.

Byline: Scott Wolf Staff Writer

STANFORD - It was four seconds that changed the game. Or in the opinion of USC coach Henry Bibby, well more than four seconds.

And if you listen to Bibby, the confusion robbed the 21st-ranked Trojans' of a chance to upset No. 1-ranked Stanford on Thursday night.

The Cardinal held on for a 77-71 victory before 7,391 at Maples Pavilion, but Bibby was incensed over the game's key play, when Stanford star guard Casey Jacobsen scored a critical basket that Bibby thought should be disallowed.

With 1:38 remaining, and Stanford leading 68-67, the Cardinal called timeout with only four seconds on the shot clock.

Jacobsen took an inbounds pass, drove the lane and made a desperate, leaning 4-foot shot that hit the front of the rim and rolled inside the basket to give Stanford a 70-67 lead.

After the game, Bibby was incensed because he said the timer never started the clock shot during Jacobsen's drive. A recap of the game scoring provided by Stanford recorded Jacobsen's basket with 1:31 left, which meant seven seconds had elapsed.

The timer said he was not sure if he had started the shot clock.

``That's the advantage of being at home and the officials not being in the game,'' Bibby said. ``(Jacobsen) dribbled from the far right side of the court and took five dribbles. That's a big play and it can't happen.''

Jacobsen, who scored a game-high 22 points, said he thought he took less than four seconds.

``There was no doubt in my mind it was four seconds,'' Jacobsen said. ``I was counting it down. I wasn't running the clock. They can claim it was more than four seconds.''

One problem is that Bibby didn't immediately protest after the play, and by the time the referees heard about it, it was too late to do anything.

Bibby was also unhappy about a play later in the game, when USC inbounded the ball with 46 seconds left in the game. He said the clock started before the Trojans threw the ball in play.

``The clock was ticking,'' he said. ``The No. 1 team in the country doesn't need that.''

He also claimed Jacobsen, who scored a game-high 22 points, received favorable treatment from the officials.

``Give the kid a lot of credit. He has the respect of the officials,'' Bibby said. ``He can do a lot of things that (USC shooting guard) Jeff Trepagnier can't do and I'll leave it at that.''

Again, Jacobsen disagreed: ``I felt I was fouled every time (I touched the ball).''

The controversy overshadowed the fact the 21st-ranked Trojans (15-5, 5-3) played perhaps their best game of the season, considering they were playing the top team in the nation. Brian Scalabrine, Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal all scored at least 15 points, a rarity this year for USC.

``This is what we've been waiting for all year,'' Bibby said. ``Everybody came to play tonight.''

Especially in the first half, when USC was making shots from all over the court. The Trojans shot 56 percent, including 6 for 7 on 3-pointers. Granville was 3 for 3 on 3-pointers and Bluthenthal 2 for 2. Even senior forward Jarvis Turner made one, just his second of the year.

The fans were nervous when the Cardinal (20-0, 8-0) trailed 34-27 with two minutes left. But Jason Collins scored back-to-back baskets to cut the halftime deficit to three points (34-31).

But USC had no answer for Jacobsen's marvelous play in the second half, as he scored 18 points, and six of the Cardinal's final 10 points.

--More turmoil: In another sign of turmoil within the Trojans, sophomore guard Nate Hair did not make the trip to the Bay Area and remained in Los Angeles. Hair, who did not play in six of USC's previous eight games after averaging 18.5 minutes at the start of the season, is taking a leave of absence from the team to assess his future.

That Hair was taking a leave of absence was barely confirmed by USC officials, who could not even answer if Hair would return to the team this season.

Hair scored six points in last Saturday's game against Oregon State, his first extended action. He's averaging 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds this season.

This follows an incident last week when three walk-ons quit the team after Bibby ordered them to sit behind the bench at home games instead of with the rest of the team. USC did not bring any either of its two remaining walk-ons, guards Anthony Saadey and Eze Burts, to the Bay Area to replace Hair and will suit up 12 players in both games this weekend.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo: (1 -- color) Jason Collins (34) of Stanford loses the ball to USC's David Bluthenthal Thursday night in Palo Alto.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

(2) USC's Sam Clancy pulls down a rebound for the Trojans during their game at Stanford Thursday. The No. 1 Cardinal won 77-71.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 2, 2001
Words:841
Previous Article:[0] CSUN AWAKENS IN TIME - AGAIN CSUN 96, WEBER ST. 86.
Next Article:NO. CAL POWER SURGE STANFORD GETS A LATE CALL, AND A VICTORY STANFORD 77, USC 71.


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