NCAA

Santa Clara tops SJSU in South Bay showdown

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Santa Clara tops SJSU in South Bay showdown

SAN JOSE -- Santa Clara University’s lead in the second half never dipped below 16 as the Broncos cruised to their ninth win in the last 11 meetings against SJSU, defeating the Spartans 75-54 and ending their three-game win streak.

Twice the Broncos’ second-half lead was cut to 16 by the Spartans but the Broncos were just too much as they outscored SJSU in both halves Tuesday night at the Event Center.

“They outplayed us, simple as that,” said SJSU head coach George Nessman. “They showed more poise and showed more mental sharpness than we did and that’s how they got the victory.”

Santa Clara was led by guard Evan Roquemore, who racked up 16 points and 5 assists while converting 3-5 from beyond the arc, and also received substantial contributions from several members of the team. Broncos guards Raymond Cowells III and Kevin Foster added 13 and 11 points, respectively, to help earn the Santa Clara victory.

For the game, SJSU collectively shot 25 percent (15-60) from the floor. Guard James Kinney, who entered the contest averaging 23 points per game, was limited by the Santa Clara defense, scoring just 19 points.

“We had to keep Kinney somewhat limited, make him earn it and he had to earn those I thought,” said Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating. “He made some really tough shots. We started to frustrate them a little bit and disrupt their flow and it really helped our pressure in other places as well.”

Nessman called the loss a lesson learned for the Spartans.

“We played a really good team and we didn’t play with a level of concentration that you need to,” he said. “We certainly had a lot of intensity but we didn’t do a good job focusing. We made a lot of careless mistakes and Santa Clara punished us for almost every one of them.”

While Santa Clara outscored SJSU 17-14 in points off turnovers both Nessman and Kinney said it felt like the spread was larger. Ten of SJSU’s 18 turnovers came in the first half, digging a hole the Spartans wouldn’t be able to climb out of.

“They counted on our mistakes, that’s pretty much the game right there,” Kinney said. “We didn’t execute offensively. We broke down on many of our sets and that leads to bad shots, poor decisions overall and transition points for Santa Clara going the other way.”

Santa Clara began to build a lead from the early minutes of the first half. Within the first five minutes the Broncos took a 14-5 lead and it became clear that Santa Clara was the more aggressive team.

SJSU’s defensive intensity showed promise later in the first half when it held Santa Clara scoreless for nearly four minutes, bringing the score to 16-12 in favor of the Broncos with 11:14 left in the first half.

A three-pointer from guard Brandon Clark, however, ignited the Santa Clara offense once again and sent the Broncos on a run that opened the game up early on. Over the next five minutes Santa Clara went on a 15-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Roquemore, to give the Broncos a 31-14 lead with just less than seven minutes to play in the first.

Another 13-4 Bronco run to end the first sent the game into halftime with the score at 44-25. Roquemore led Santa Clara in scoring with 13 points and in assists with 3 at halftime.

“We didn’t function very well the first ten minutes of the game and that put us in a hole and then we played like we were in a hole and I think it affected out sharpness and Santa Clara took advantage of it,” Nessman said. “It wasn’t an effort issue, they were just playing a higher quality basketball in the first half and I think that’s why they got the lead they got.”

Nessman added that the team will now be able to take its time on the practice court and improve on many things — the team’s next game is not until Dec. 22 against James Madison.

“We need the time, clearly,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of games int he last two weeks and we’re a little worn down. We need to get back to the practice floor where we can have extended practices over a four day stretch where we don’t have to worry about an opponent. We have a lot of time now to focus on San Jose State and what we need to do.”

From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

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From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

Stanford has a penchant for recruiting the overachieving student-athlete. Even among those standards, Harrison Phillips is a rare find. The senior defensive tackle helps feed the homeless every Friday morning at a local shelter. He often visits the kids in the oncology ward at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He was named to the Pac-12 All Academic First Team and will graduate in December with a double major and a minor. He is a team captain and heir apparent to Solomon Thomas, the 49ers third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

“One thing you love about Harrison is, every day he’s going to get something done,” head coach David Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area. “On the field, off the field, in the community, he’s always got a million things going on. But nothing ever suffers.

"He does everything at a high level.”

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Phillips is a mountain of a man. His skill set is different than that of Thomas, but he can be just as disruptive. He plays over the center. He plays over the guards. His self-proclaimed job is to eat as many blocks as possible to keep the linebackers free.

“He’s such that hard point for us. He’s that guy up front that’s getting knock back, that force in the run game that you gotta have,” defensive coordinator Lance Anderson explained. “You have to have that strong solid point in the middle of your defense, and he provides that.”

Phillips had a game-high 11 tackles, five of them solo, in the Cardinal’s loss to USC. No other defensive lineman on the field had more than three.

“He’s outstanding against the run. He’s a very good pass rusher,” Shaw added. “He’s got a lot of tools that can work inside.”

Phillips main instruments of domination are strength, knowledge of leverage and abnormal flexibility for a man of his size.

“He can do the splits on command,” Thomas said laughing from in front of his locker after a recent 49ers practice. “He loves showing it off. We get on him for it. But he loves doing it.

And, according to Thomas, his former Stanford teammate loves to bench. So it comes as no surprise that Phillips’ upper body strength stands out.

“He’ll be really low in a position that you think he’d get knocked over in,” Thomas explained. “Because of how flexible he is, it’s not a problem for him to get in that position and stay there and move on from there. It definitely shows up on his film.”

No doubt, Phillips says, that ability comes from his wrestling experience. His high school curriculum vitae includes, “Nebraska State Wrestling Champion, Heavy Weight Division, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.”

Phillips first year on The Farm, he vividly remembers his Stanford coaches testing him. Just a mere 245 pounds at the time, they put him up against Joshua Garnett and Andrus Peat, two offensive linemen now in the NFL and each well over 300 pounds.

“They’d double team me, almost 700 pounds on you, and I would somehow find leverage and be able to sit on some of those double teams,” Phillips said. “I think the violence that wrestling brings, and balance and being comfortable in weird positions, wrestling has a ton of scrambling, as it's called, you just know your body and know what you can do. I have tremendous flexibility, and I use everything to my advantage.”

One thing Phillips is not allowed to do is use his explosiveness away from the football field. At one time, Phillips could do a back flip off the wall, but he no longer attempts it.

“I’m not a big fan of the back hand springs,” Shaw said. “I’d like for him to stay on his feet.”

Phillips doesn’t argue. He lost his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, and doesn’t want to risk another. He has NFL aspirations and put himself in position to graduate in three-and-a-half years should he choose to enter the 2018 draft. But just as he has done at Stanford, he is looking to be more than just a name on a jersey should he play on a professional level.

“I want to build something that is really lasting,” Phillips said of his life goal, “and put my name on something to touch people’s lives and change people’s lives, pay it forward as much as I can.”

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

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USASTI

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

LOS ANGELES  — Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett caught two touchdown passes apiece from Sam Darnold, and No. 6 Southern California extended its winning streak to 11 games with a bruising 42-24 victory over No. 14 Stanford on Saturday night.

Darnold went 21 of 26 with 316 yards passing for the Trojans (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12), who snapped their three-game losing streak in this California private-school rivalry. USC racked up 623 total yards and won the first Pac-12 game of the new season by beating the hard-nosed Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) at their own physical game.

Ronald Jones II rushed for 116 yards and scored a touchdown in his ninth consecutive game as USC excelled at Stanford's traditional strengths, running the ball for 307 yards and controlling both lines of scrimmage. Turnovers and penalties by the Trojans kept it fairly close, but freshman Stephen Carr added 119 yards rushing, and Jones cartwheeled into the end zone with a clinching 23-yard TD run with 4:15 to play.

Keller Chryst passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Bryce Love had a 75-yard TD run among his 160 yards rushing for the Cardinal, who hadn't played since their season-opening win over Rice in Australia last month.

After a scoreless third quarter, USC made a 90-yard scoring drive capped by Mitchell's second TD on a feathery 11-yard TD pass by Darnold with 9:42 to play. Stanford stayed close with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's TD catch with 6:41 to play, but Jones' incredible second TD run capped a smooth 75-yard drive in USC's 11th consecutive win at the Coliseum.

Stanford had won eight of its last 11 meetings with USC in a dominant stretch that began with its historic 2007 upset victory at the Coliseum.

After USC scored 49 points in its season opener, Darnold's offense again was in fine form from the start. USC scored four touchdowns on five lengthy drives in the first half, with Darnold hitting Burnett for two of his three TD passes.

USC moved 74 yards on two plays late in the half to take a 28-17 lead on Burnett's leaping 25-yard TD grab.

THE TAKEAWAY

Stanford: That 62-point performance in the season opener Down Under was impossible to replicate against a top Pac-12 defense, and the Cardinal's offense will know it must add versatility to the attack. Stanford's defense also had big problems at the line of scrimmage, and that isn't a problem with which the Cardinal have much experience.

USC: This talent-laden offense has appeared to have the makings of a juggernaut so far. Darnold returned to 2016 form with a smooth, poised performance against a vaunted conference opponent, while the Trojans' receivers appear to be much more reliable than coach Clay Helton feared. USC's defense also stepped up after halftime and shut down one of the Pac-12's best.

UP NEXT

Stanford: The Cardinal's three-game stretch away from home to open the season concludes at San Diego State.

USC: The Trojans welcome Texas to the Coliseum for a meeting of two powerhouse programs.