Johnson, Teahan lead No. 12 Kansas over USC 63-47

The Associated Press
Johnson, Teahan lead No. 12 Kansas over USC 63-47
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Kansas guard Elijah Johnson attempts a layup as he is guarded by Southern California guard Maurice Jones during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Bret Hartman)

LOS ANGELES (AP) For a team that likes to get out in the open court and run, Kansas knew it would have to adapt its style of play against an opponent that prefers to control the pace.

Instead of fast and furious, it was slow and deliberate.

Elijah Johnson scored 14 points, Conner Teahan added 13, including four 3-pointers, and No. 11 Kansas bounced back from a surprising loss to beat Southern California 63-47 on Thursday night.

''We were ready to come in here and have one of those grind-it-out games,'' point guard Tyshawn Taylor said. ''We ran our offense really well and got what we wanted.''

Thomas Robinson had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Taylor added 10 points and nine assists for the Jayhawks (8-3), who suffered an 80-74 home loss to Davidson on Monday.

There would be no upset in this one.

The Jayhawks overcame a sluggish start in their first true road game of the season with a strong defensive effort, forcing 18 turnovers that led to 18 points.

''We had to win tonight. There was no other choice'' coach Bill Self said. ''To let that Davidson game get away was totally, I don't want to say unforgivable, but it was close.''

In USC's final tune-up before Pac-12 play begins next week, coach Kevin O'Neill was left desiring more from his team. Saying that the Trojans were in need of a signature win, they failed to muster the intensity needed to pull off the upset.

Aaron Fuller scored 19 points for USC (5-8), which shot 34.7 percent from the field.

''The stage was a bit big for our guys,'' O'Neill said. ''We looked slow, we looked bad. And we didn't shoot the ball well.''

Neither team was sharp in the early minutes, combining to miss 15 of 21 shots. The Jayhawks' defense eventually wore down USC and they slowly built their lead.

Trailing 10-8, Teahan gave the Jayhawks the lead for good with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After Byron Wesley made a runner for USC, the Jayhawks closed the half with a 12-1 run.

Johnson had a steal and layup, Taylor was fouled while making a layup and hit the free throw, and Jeff Withey hit a pair from the line. Robinson then stole the ball at midcourt and drove in for an empathic dunk to make it 22-12.

Teahan hit another 3 as Kansas took a 25-13 lead into halftime.

''They didn't get a lot of good looks tonight,'' Self said.

Withey finished with nine points and nine rebounds. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Trojans 39-29.

USC's first half was rather forgettable. The Trojans shot 22.7 percent, settling for mostly long-range jumpers. They had as many turnovers (13) as they did points.

''The turnovers killed us more than anything,'' O'Neill said. ''I'm frustrated, the players are frustrated, too.''

Robinson, held to four points on four shots in the first half, had a jumper, layup and a dunk on consecutive possessions to extend the lead to 52-30 after halftime, much to the delight of the pro-Kansas crowd.

Kansas won its seventh consecutive game in the series despite its second-lowest scoring output of the season. Only the team's 61 points in a loss to Duke were less.

Taylor, playing his second game following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on Dec. 11, logged a team-high 33 minutes.

The Jayhawks had played five games away from Allen Fieldhouse coming in, all on neutral courts.

They now head into the Christmas break on a winning note.

''After that loss, you can't turn it into two and not bounce back,'' Taylor said. ''We came out and handled business.''

Maurice Jones, USC's top scorer, was held to seven points on 2 of 13 shooting.