LAWRENCE, Kan. – Josh Selby made his long-awaited collegiate debut one to remember with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, leading No. 3 Kansas past USC 70-68 on Saturday.
Selby, a freshman point guard ordered by the NCAA to sit out the first nine games, had a team-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and kept the big crowd on its feet throughout the game.
The Jayhawks (10-0) held a seemingly comfortable 10-point lead early in the first half before Donte Smith led USC (6-5) on an 11-0 run. Jio Fontan, making his debut for the Trojans after transferring from Fordham, hit two free throws that put USC on top 68-66 with 1:36 left. After Selby's 3-pointer, Tyrel Reed made a free throw for the final margin as Kansas extended its home-court winning streak to 65 games.
Smith had 20 points for USC. Alex Stepheson added 18 and Fontan 15.
Selby, a 6-foot-2 point guard, immediately showed off his smooth, pretty jump shot by making his first two 3-point attempts. He showed a few defensive lapses and fumbled the ball out of bounds under the Kansas basket the first time he touched it.
The Baltimore native, who had spent the first nine games on the bench in street clothes hearing the Allen Fieldhouse crowd chanting, "Free Selby! Free Selby!" hit two free throws for a 57-55 lead with 5:48 to go. But Smith's 3-pointer tied it 60-60 before another 3 by Selby gave the Jayhawks a 65-64 lead at the 2:59 mark.
After Selby gave the Jayhawks a 69-68 lead, USC called time out with 20.7 seconds to go and then inbounded the ball. But the Trojans lost it out of bounds and Kansas inbounded with 6.4 seconds left in one of the most harrowing of the wins during the streak.
Selby, ordered by the NCAA to pay a $4,607.58 fine for accepting impermissible benefits, came off the bench 4:07 into the game and got thunderous applause from the capacity crowd of 16,300. He had a team-high 10 points when Kansas went into halftime with a 31-20 lead.
The Trojans went on an 11-0 run and took a 53-52 lead in the second half, with Fontan scoring six points. He got it started with a 3-pointer, then Nikola Vucevic rejected Marcus Morris' shot and Stepheson converted the opportunity into a three-point play at the other end.
Fontan transferred to USC last January after making the Atlantic-10 All-rookie team as a freshman. The 6-foot guard showed excellent quickness and ball handling ability but could not keep the Trojans from losing their sixth straight road game.
Kansas held a 39-30 rebounding edge over the Trojans, who had outrebounded their first 10 opponents.