Kansas defeats USC, ends Trojans five-game streak

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Brandon Rush had another rough night from the field.

The Kansas sophomore swingman also had the admiration of Jayhawks coach Bill Self, for his willingness to keep shooting and to defend Southern California's top scorer.

Rush scored 13 points and helped hold the Trojans' Nick Young to eight points -- less than half his average of 16.5 -- and the Jayhawks (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) rebounded from their second loss of the season with a 72-62 victory on Monday night.

"I think that's one of the best games he's played this year," Self said. "He was aggressive, and look at his defense of Young. That's the leading returning scorer in the Pac-10. Brandon did a lot of good things."

Mario Chalmers also had 13 points for the Jayhawks (7-2), who were coming off a 64-57 loss at DePaul on Saturday. Kansas won despite shooting 38 percent (24-for-63) from the field, including a 3-for-14 performance from Rush, who was held to three points against DePaul.

USC (5-2) has held its first seven opponents under 40 percent shooting.

"I was shooting, and it looked like they were good," Rush said. "But they kept falling short, going long, off the backboard. It wasn't my night."

That made Rush's willingness to take shots even more impressive, Self said.

"You can look in his face and see that he's worried about it," Self said. "But the good thing tonight is, he didn't back out of shots. He got off 14 looks when they were face guarding him. I'll take my chances with him shooting the ball."

Sherron Collins and Darnell Jackson added 11 points each and Julian Wright finished with 10 for Kansas, which didn't lead by double digits until Russell Robinson hit two free throws in the closing seconds.

"We didn't have anything going for us on offense, so we were just trying to keep fighting on defense," Chalmers said. "USC is a very good team, and they fought back with us."

Lodrick Stewart, whose twin brother, Rodrick, is a reserve guard for the Jayhawks, scored 23 points for the Trojans and kept hitting timely shots every time Kansas threatened to pull away in a sloppy first half. Stewart was less effective in the second half, though, after getting poked in the eye.

Taj Gibson added 15 points for USC, which was playing on the road for the first time this year and had a five-game winning streak broken.

Kansas led by as many as seven points in a back-and-forth first half that saw seven lead changes, and the Jayhawks were up 37-33 at the break. The Jayhawks took the lead for good, 30-28, on Collins' 3-pointer with 3:45 left in the half.

Lodrick Stewart went down hard 3 minutes into the second half, after getting poked in the right eye by Robinson. Stewart came back in 2 1/2 minutes later -- but after scoring 17 points in the first half, he didn't connect again until his 3-pointer with 11:26 left got USC within 54-48.

After that, he didn't score again until just over 2 minutes were left, when his last 3 cut the Jayhawks' lead to 67-62. But Rush answered with a basket at the other end, making it 69-62, and the Trojans went scoreless the rest of the way.

"My vision was very blurry," Lodrick Stewart said. "I didn't want to shoot any terrible shots or force any shots, so I tried to get everyone else involved."

The foul on Robinson was one of six called against the Jayhawks in the first 3 minutes, 15 seconds of the second half. The Trojans got into the bonus with just under 15 1/2 minutes left but were just 4-for-6 from the line after that.

"We continued to try and attack, but they did a good job of adjusting to the whistle," USC coach Tim Floyd said.

Freshman center Darrell Arthur, who came in leading Kansas with a 15.1-point scoring average, played only 3 minutes of the first half before picking up his second foul. He got his third personal with just over 14 minutes left and his fourth with more than 10 minutes left, and finished with eight points.

Rodrick Stewart, who started games 17 for USC as a freshman but then transferred to Kansas, did not score for the Jayhawks but spent several minutes defending his twin.

"He got mad when I was walking toward the bench," Rodrick Stewart said. "He said, 'They're taking you out already? That was good D.' I just kept on walking. I was trying to hold in laughing throughout the whole game."

The teams combined for 24 turnovers, 14 by the Trojans, in the first 20 minutes.

"Our inability to pass and catch with pressure on the road was frustrating, but this is our first trip," Floyd said. "I think it will be a builder for us. It doesn't get any tougher than playing in this place."