No. 10 Kansas Pulls Off Double-Digit Comeback, Defeats Iowa State, 82-73

Jan. 14, 2012

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Taylor’s Huge Second Half Ignites Comeback Win

LAWRENCE , Kan. – Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor put up 13 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to shoulder No. 10 Kansas’ comeback effort and take down Iowa State, 82-73, Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Just one game after recording his 250th victory at Kansas (14-3, 4-0), head coach Bill Self coached his Jayhawks for the 300th time on Saturday – becoming on the fourth coach in KU’s history to reach the 300-game milestone. The historic marker came via a dramatic performance that saw the Jayhawks fall behind by 12 points to Iowa State (12-5, 2-2) with 17 minutes to play.

Facing a 52-40 deficit just three minutes into the second half, Taylor led his team on a 30-9 run. Less than nine minutes after falling behind by its largest margin since losing to No. 2 Kentucky in the second game of the season, Kansas had turned a 12-point disadvantage to a 70-61 lead with eight minutes remaining. Although ISU never stopped bringing pressure, Taylor and the Jayhawks had locked down the momentum and eventually the win.

Taylor led the floor with a career-high 28 points, 22 of which came in the second half, while juniors Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey each cranked out double-double performances. Robinson put up his 12th of the season, and Withey posted his first one in Big 12 Conference play and third of the year. Junior Elijah Johnson chipped in 12 points and five assists, second only to Taylor ‘s six.

Offensively, Iowa State relied on junior guard Chris Allen and sophomore forward Royce White, who set the tone in the first half. Allen cranked out 13 points in the opening frame, but was held to only four points in the second. Meanwhile, White had a double-double to his credit in the first 20 minutes and finished with a team-best 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Iowa State , who entered the weekend in the NCAA’s top-10 for three-point percentage, went a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the opening five minutes of the game. When junior forward Anthony Booker knocked down the three that put the Cyclones ahead, 16-7, Self asked for the timeout.

Out of the break, ISU stretched the lead to 10 before Kansas started diligently chipping away at the Cyclones’ lead. A convincing pump fake, then drive to the basket by senior guard Conner Teahan resulted in an easy layup that sparked a 9-2 Kansas run. By the second media timeout of the half, KU had cut the Cyclone lead to two, 18-16.

Still firing from three-point range, Allen hit his second three before White dropped in another layup. Just under the midway point of the first half, White hit double figures, as ISU climbed back ahead, 27-18. Kansas used some three-point power of its own, only once this season have the Jayhawks made more than the six threes they hit in the first half, but Iowa State’s hot-handed shooters always had answer to kick its lead back to 10, 39-29.

Two big buckets from Robinson and junior guard Travis Releford helped the Jayhawks close the half on an 11-4 run, as the Jayhawks headed to halftime down for just third time this season, 43-40.

After surrendering 40-plus points to an opponent in a half for only the fourth time in 2011-12, KU gave up a 9-0 run to start the second. Withey snapped KU’s scoring drought slightly more than three minutes into the half following the Cyclones’ reaching their biggest lead of the game, 52-40.

Out to protect its 15-game home court win streak, KU fired back with a 7-0 run, capped by a pull-up jumper from Taylor, cutting the ISU edge to five points, and prompting a timeout from Cyclone head coach Fred Hoiberg. Minutes later, Taylor drew the foul and completed the three-point play, bringing the sold out Allen Fieldhouse crowd to its feet in preparation for the comeback.

Putting the rally on his shoulders, Taylor drained a three-pointer – his 10th point in the first nine minutes of the second half – to knot the score. One minute later, junior forward Kevin Young hit a jumper in the lane to return the lead to Kansas for the first time since the 17:37 mark of the first half, 63-61.

Midway through the final frame, the Jayhawks saw their break in the ISU armor and sprinted with it. As Kansas hit its next five-straight field goal attempts, the defense blanked the Cyclones on their next five shots. KU turned a 52-40 deficit into a 70-61 lead in less than nine minutes.

The ninth three of the game, the third from junior forward Anthony Booker, and six-straight points from sophomore forward Melvin Ejim produced the 9-2 run that saw the Cyclones again close the gap, 72-70, as the five-minute mark approached.

Kansas made sure, however, that the momentum had shifted for the last time. Robinson dished off a textbook pass under the basket for a Withey dunk, while Taylor made both free-throws with less than a minute to play to seal his new career high – and the Kansas victory, 82-73.

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.