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.
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.