Kansas Gets a Taylor-Made Second Half Against South Florida.

Dec. 4, 2011

120411aab_621_5857788.jpegIt was a slow first half for the Kansas Jayhawks. After the first 20 minutes of play, Kansas and South Florida were looking for answers after both teams shot below 40 percent (KU 9-24, USF 8-24) in the opening frame. The Jayhawks’ senior guard Tyshawn Taylor found the remedy in the second half, connecting on four shots from beyond the arc. Behind 24 points from Taylor, Kansas was able to push past the Bulls of South Florida, 70-42.

Taylor scored just four points and gave up three turnovers in the first half as the Jayhawks led 24-21 at the intermission. Early in the second half the Jayhawks went to work with a different attitude. Off a steal and outlet pass from junior forward Thomas Robinson, Taylor laid in a score while being fouled. Taylor would hit the free throw, putting his Jayhawks up by 10 for the first time and capping off a 6-0 run to start the second half.

“The first half was kind of slow for us. We were a little sluggish and we didn’t have much energy as a team,” said Taylor. “Coach (Bill) Self told us about it and we wanted to come out with more energy and pressure the ball and get some fast break points; and that is what we did.”

120411aab_621_5857789.jpegThe Bulls had trouble keeping pace with Kansas. The closest the Bulls would come in the second half was five points and Taylor then provided more offense. With the score 31-26, Taylor would step up to hit a big three, his first of the contest, to lift his team back up to an eight-point lead. Kansas’ offense would follow the pace set by Taylor shooting 53.8 percent (14-26) in the second period. Taylor’s scoring was complimented by the stifling defense that Kansas was able to play all night, forcing the Bulls into two shot clock violations.

“Our focus was more into our defense and we hadn’t even realized how big the lead had gotten,” said Taylor. “Those three three-pointers were big for us to take the lid off the goal because early on we were one-for-11. Those shots in the second half were able to give us some confidence”

Taylor finished the night with two rebounds, five assists and a season high 24 points, two shy of his career best. Kansas shot 46 percent from the field and gathered 36 rebounds. South Florida finished 32.6 percent from the field and grabbed 29 boards. For the Jayhawks, their senior point guard was able to steer his team toward victory after a flat first half.

“We just wanted to turn it around and have more energy and be the aggressor and that is what we did.”

The Kansas Jayhawks will play the Long Beach State 49ers in Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNU.