Taylor's Huge Second Half Ignites Comeback Win

Jan. 14, 2012

011412aab_34_5924676.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – On a night when the Jayhawks trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, they turned to their senior leader to bail them out. Tyshawn Taylor exploded for 22 second-half points, many of which came during a 30-9 run that put Kansas up for good over the visiting Iowa State Cyclones, 82-73.

Taylor led the comeback with All-American candidate Thomas Robinson on the bench for a six-minute spurt.

“I thought he was amazing,” Robinson said of Taylor. “He put the team on his back. He did what was expected and he played great during that stretch when we came back. He hit some big shots for us.”

Taylor finished the night with a career-high 28 points, six assists and a season-high four steals on 10-of-21 shooting from the field. The Hoboken, N.J., native also knocked 3-of-9 from downtown.

“We were down 10 (points), and Thomas (Robinson) was on the bench,” said Taylor about his play during an 11-0 run. “I had to play. I had to do something. I had to make something happen. I made a couple of shots. They kept trying to go under the ball screens, so I stepped up. I made the first one, and they did the same thing the second time. I shot it confidently and it went in. That kind of sparked (the run) a little bit.”

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg also noted his team’s play on the pick-and-roll, which is how Taylor hurt the Cyclones for much of the second half.

011412aab_34_5924696.jpeg“I thought our pick and roll coverage wasn’t nearly as good as it was in the first half; we got caught up on it and we didn’t show up and he knocked down shots and made us pay for it,” Hoiberg explained. “He (Taylor) is a nice player; shooting the ball much better, obviously, this season. Coming into conference play, he only made one out of eight (three-pointers) in their three conference games. He stepped up and made big plays when they needed them.”

In the second half it wasn’t only Taylor’s offense that got the Jayhawks the lead, but also his play on the defensive end. He finished the second half with three of his four steals, but he did much more that the stat sheet doesn’t show. Taylor spent a majority of the game on Iowa State’s senior guard Chris Allen and Allen held the advantage going into halftime with 13 points. However, Taylor came out of the locker room inspired as he held Allen to just four points in the second half off of 1-for-8 shooting from the field.

After the game Taylor received some high-praise from Iowa State standout, Royce White. White is much like a guard even though he stands at 6-8, 270 pounds.

“He hit some big-time shots down the stretch and I congratulate him for the way he performed tonight,” White said. “Some of it was because of our blown defense, but he had a big game – especially down the stretch. He is probably the reason why they won the game.”

011412aab_34_5924678.jpegTaylor came into the day’s game struggling from the field with his shot (1-8 from the three in Big 12 play), but the senior came up huge when his team needed him the most.

“I felt good,” Taylor explained. “I felt like I was playing good. I felt like my team was counting on me, and I stepped up. I heard my bench going crazy the entire time. The crowd was going crazy. It was just one of those feelings you get when you’re playing good and you know that the fans and your teammates are with you. I felt good at that moment.”

No. 10 Kansas stays at Allen Fieldhouse to host No. 4 Baylor on Monday, Jan. 16 at 8:30 p.m., for the ESPN Big Monday matchup. The Jayhawks then continue conference play at Texas on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. on CBS.