LOS ANGELES | Mario Chalmers had 20 points – including 17 in the second half – to lead Kansas to a 59-55 victory over Southern California.
The Trojans pulled to within 55-53 in the last minute, but Chalmers hit a long 3-pointer with the shot clock running down to give KU a 58-53 lead with 18 seconds left.
No. 4 KU held USC freshman O.J. Mayo, an NBA-ready shooting guard, to 6-of-21 shooting and 19 points, below his season average coming in. That was in large part to the on-ball defense of Kansas senior Russell Robinson.
The Jayhawks, 7-0, outrebounded the smaller Trojans by a margin of 42-30. KU senior Darnell Jackson had 13 rebounds to go along with nine points.
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Both teams struggled from the field. KU shot 38 percent, while USC shot 39.
Kansas trailed by 10 points early but fought back to trail only 27-25 at halftime. The Jayhawks fought back from a 16-6 deficit with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 16. The teams went back and forth for the rest of the half until Jefferson hit a long jumper at the buzzer.