Tyshawn Tailors Another Masterful Performance

Jan. 17, 2012

011712aac_419_5928045.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – The ink had barely dried on Tyshawn Taylor’s Big 12 Player of the Week certificate before the senior guard began making his case to be a back-to-back recipient of the award Monday night, posting a career-high 28 points for the second consecutive game to lead No. 7 Kansas to a 92-74 victory against previously undefeated No. 3 Baylor.

Similar to Saturday’s game against Iowa State where he scored 22 points in the second half to help the Jayhawks overcome a 12-point deficit, Taylor sparked Kansas at a key moment of the game to propel KU to its 16th-straight victory in Allen Fieldhouse and its second over a top-five team this season. Trailing 29-26 with four minutes remaining in the first half, Taylor made a layup to pull Kansas within one. Then, Taylor drained a three-pointer to give the Jayhawks the lead for good, 31-29.

Taylor’s five points began a 13-0 run to close the first half, giving Kansas a 39-29 advantage at the break. Taylor scored 11 of the Jayhawks’ 13 points during that stretch, capping the run off with his third three-pointer with six seconds remaining.

011712aac_419_5928048.jpeg“I think the last game (against Iowa State) helped us learn how to fight back a little bit,” said Taylor. “Coach (Self) always says that it’s a game of runs, and they are going to go on a run. They made their run, we countered with ours and they couldn’t get over that hump to fight back and get another run because we were focused tonight defensively.”

Baylor head coach Scott Drew felt Taylor’s play, particularly at the end of the first half, was the difference.

“He’s gotten better each and every year. I know when he got in the league he was an outstanding defender, and his offensive game has gotten better each year. He always had the toughness and the leadership,” said Drew. “That (13-0) run really hurt us. We missed some jump shots. They got some run-outs. We didn’t get back. They do such a good job in transition offense in this building. I think that was the turning point right there.”

Taylor finished the game 10-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, to notch a game-high 28 points, one more than National Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds in the victory. Taylor added a team-high six assists to lead the Jayhawks in both categories for the second-straight contest.

“I definitely want to go out there and be a threat,” Taylor said when asked about his recent increased aggressiveness attacking the basket and shooting the ball. “I don’t want to feel like I’m just another player on the court. I want the defender that is guarding me to feel like when I have the ball that I can make something happen. I just want to keep being aggressive and being in attack mode, so that is what I am going to continue to do. I’ve been shooting the ball pretty well. I’m just going to keep trying to shoot open shots, and hopefully they keep falling.”

011712aac_419_5928043.jpegKansas head coach Bill Self put Taylor in elite company when describing his ability to attack the basket and penetrate defenses.

“We’ve only had one other kid since I’ve been here that could get the ball to the paint, and that was Sherron (Collins),” Self said. “Tyshawn does it better than Sherron as far as getting the ball inside. He’s so fast. Even in the second half when we ran bad offense, he and Elijah (Johnson) just got the ball to the middle late (shot) clock. They just go by people and get themselves a shot or get somebody else an easy shot. That’s not coaching. That’s just having fast guys.”

Kansas now sits atop the Big 12 Conference standings at 5-0 in league play. The Jayhawks will return to action Saturday, Jan. 21, when they travel to play the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas. The game will be broadcast live on CBS at 3 p.m.