Kansas improved to 10-0 for the second consecutive year and extended the nation's longest active home court winning streak to 65 games with the victory. USC fell to 6-5 with the loss.
Junior Markieff Morris had 11 points and eight rebounds for KU, while his twin brother Marcus added 11 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Thomas Robinson rounded out the Jayhawks in double-figures with 10 points to go along with seven boards.
Four Trojans scored in double-digits, led by Donte Smith with 20 points. Alex Stephenson posted 18 points, while Nikola Vucevic chipped in 13. Junior Jio Fontan scored 15 points in his USC debut after transferring from Fordham last January.
Kansas trailed by two, 68-66, with 38 seconds remaining when the team called a timeout to set up a halfcourt play. Marcus Morris missed a jump shot, but Markieff Morris grabbed the offensive rebound, which allowed Josh Selby to hit a three-pointer from the right wing to give KU a one-point lead with 26 seconds on the clock.
USC had a chance to take the lead back on the next possession, but junior Tyshawn Taylor blocked a Maurice Jones layup out of play, and Fontan stepped out-of-bounds on the ensuing in-bound pass to give the ball back to the Jayhawks.
Senior Tyrel Reed had a chance to extend KU's lead to three points at the free throw line with four seconds left, but he missed his second attempt, keeping the score at 70-68. Fontan heaved a halfcourt shot at the buzzer that would have won the game for the Trojans. The shot was on line, but hit off the front of the rim, preserving Kansas' two-point victory.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, USC went on an 11-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 53-52, at the 8:30 mark. The run included a three-pointer from Fontan as well as traditional three-point plays by Fontan and Stephenson.
The largest lead for either team the rest of the game was three, 60-57, which KU held after Markieff Morris stole a Jones pass near midcourt and took it the length of the floor for a fastbreak dunk with 4:58 left in the game.
Kansas came into the game with an NCAA-leading 55.8 field goal percentage, but shot a season-low 38.9 percent on Saturday. It was the Jayhawks' worst outing from the field since the team shot 37.7 percent at Tennessee on Jan. 10, 2010. The game also marked the first time KU was out-shot by its opponent this season, as USC shot 45.1 percent from the field, including 46.7 percent (7-for-15) from three-point range.
Kansas had only 12 assists compared to 13 turnovers, its third consecutive game recording more turnovers than assists, dating back to the UCLA game on Dec. 2.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half. KU shot 33.3 percent for the first 20 minutes, while USC only made 29.2 percent of its shots. The Jayhawks received 20 of their 31 points from the bench, including 10 by Selby.
Kansas had two high points in the first half. Selby made his first two three-pointers as a college player, bringing the 153rd consecutive Allen Fieldhouse sellout crowd to its feet each time. KU also put together a 9-0 run midway through the first period to take a 27-13 lead, its largest margin of the game.
Kansas will return to action Wednesday, Dec. 22, when it plays at California in its first true road game of the season. That game will begin at 10 p.m. central and be televised on FSN.