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USC basketball: Trojans miss chance at No. 3 Kansas, fall 70-68

December 18, 2010 | 12:33 pm

Kansas and USC each debuted new players Saturday. 

One was the nation's top recruit, a other-worldly talented guard heralded as a one-and-done player. 

The other was less known, a transfer from Fordham in Bronx, N.Y.

But each made a lasting impression in the No. 3 Jayhawks' thrlling 70-68 win at Allen Fieldhouse, as one won the game, and the other lost in his first start.

Just as in UCLA's one-point loss at Kansas about two weeks ago earlier this month, USC's visit to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday came down to the final seconds and one whistle.

Only instead of controversy in that 67-66 loss, there was only frustration in the Trojans' 70-68 defeat to the No. 3 Jayhawks.

Trailing, 69-68, with 6.4 seconds left and possession of the ball, USC inbounded the ball to junior guard Jio Fontan, who was playing in his first game in more than a year after transferring to USC from Fordham in January.

But when Fontan, who was being crowded on the left sideline by Kansas guard Brady Morningstar, caught the ball, the nearby referee blew the whistle. Fontan's foot was out of bounds. Turnover.

Kansas' Tyrel Reedmade one free throw and USC freshman guard Maurice Jones' half-court heave at the buzzer was both late and off.   

USC (6-5) has now lost six consecutive road games dating back to last season. For Kansas (10-0), the win keeps alive the nation's longest home game winning streak, which now stands at 65 games. 

The Jayhawks got an enormous boost from freshman guard Josh Selby, who, like Fontan, made his debut Saturday. Selby became eligible following a nine-game suspension by the NCAA for allegedly accepting impermissible benefits. 

Selby, the nation's top high school recruit, nailed a three-point jumper with 20.7 seconds left from the left wing to give the Jayhawks a 69-68 lead. 

Selby, playing in his first collegiate game, lived up to all the hype, scoring 21 points. 

With the ball, trailing by one with 20.7 seconds left, USC freshman guard Maurice Jones dribbled at the top before penetrating. It looked as though he was fouled on the drive, but the referees let it go. The ball went out of bounds to USC, which called a timeout with 6.4 seconds left but the final turnover did them in. 

USC is now off to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the No. 7 Volunteers (7-2), who have lost consecutive games to Oakland and Charlotte

-- Baxter Holmes in Lawrence, Kan.