by Jeremy Bauman / @JBauman13
USC fully tested the debut of highly touted Kansas guard Josh Selby (21 points on 5-11 shooting), who was suspended for the first nine games of the year for receiving improper benefits from a family friend.
Kansas led 31-20 at the half behind Selby’s quick and accurate trigger from deep. After opening up a 48-37 lead with 12:40 left in the second half, Kansas suddenly became stagnant on offense, allowing the Trojans to climb back into the game behind the strong interior play of Nikola Vucevic (13 points, 8 boards) and Alex Stephenson (18 points, 8 boards) combined with sharp three point shooting of Donte Smith (20 points) and the commanding play of Fordham transfer Jio Fontan (15 points), who was making his debut as well.
In the end the freshman Josh Selby proved to be to much to handle. Down 68-66, upon receiving a cross-court pass from Marcus Morris (11 points, 7 boards), Selby calmly rose up and knocked down a deep three from the right wing with 26 seconds to play, giving the Jayhawks the lead for good.
– Selby had a man open in the corner if he wanted to swing the potential go-ahead shot, but this was his debut and he made the most of it by hitting the game winner. Every one of his made field goals was a three pointer. He displayed a floater game off the dribble, but couldn’t get it to drop today. As the scoring guard moves forward, I look forward to seeing him more under control with the basketball in his hands, and as a result of this control, he will be much more of a threat on the offensive end.
– Thomas Robinson relentlessly fronts the post on defense and hits the offensive boards with as much aggression as anybody in the country, which explains why he has four games of four offensive rebounds although he plays just 16.4 minutes per game. Robinson is arguably the most important bench player in the country and he has a big time future ahead of him.
– Marcus Morris had noticeable trouble inside against Alex Stephenson and Nikola Vucevic defensively. Both players are 6-10, compared to Marcus height of 6-8. If he continues to struggle against players similar to this instance, it will be vital for Morris to continue to prove that he is willing and capable to make the full transfer to the small forward position after college.
– USC had a chance at the end, but Fontan stepped out of bounds when he caught the ball under duress in the corner.