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Sunday, March 8, 2009

KU’s Taylor rises to challenge

KU's Tyshawn Taylor blows by Texas defender Texas Connor Atchley in the second half of Kansas' 83-73 victory on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU's Tyshawn Taylor blows by Texas defender Texas Connor Atchley in the second half of Kansas' 83-73 victory on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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2009 KU-UT March 7

Tyshawn Taylor didn’t start the second half of Kansas University’s 83-73 victory over Texas on Saturday.

He understood why, too.

“I was kind of out of it. I had three turnovers in the first half,” the freshman guard said. “I’ve just got to play better.”

“Coach told me, ‘I’m challenging you. I’m challenging you. What’re you going to do?’”

Taylor responded by sparking the Jayhawks once he received his chance in the second half.

Before the break, Taylor went 0-for-4 from the floor with just two points and the three giveaways.

“I was mad at Tyshawn the first half. Let’s call it like it is,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I thought that when we really needed him to be focused and play, I didn’t think he did at all the first half. I thought it was good that we didn’t start him.”

After entering at the 12:15 mark of the second half, Taylor didn’t leave the court again. He also put up an impressive stat line after halftime: nine points, 4-for-5 shooting, two assists and no turnovers.

“I don’t even know how much I would have played Tyshawn if we hadn’t gotten tired, to be honest,” Self said. “But when I put him in there, that’s the sign of a young guy that’s starting to get it. He didn’t pout, he just said, ‘Hey, I just want an opportunity, and I’ll do better second half.’”

Taylor came through with two of the biggest momentum-changing plays for KU.

The first came at the 7:55 mark after Texas’ Damion James had given the Longhorns a 63-62 lead with a pair of free throws.

Teammate Sherron Collins passed the ball back on the perimeter to Taylor, who banked in a three-pointer from the top of the circle.

“I had a taller guy on me, so when he jumped out to me, I kind of arched my shot a little more and pushed it a little harder, and it hit the bank and went in,” Taylor said. “I kind of smiled because I was like, ‘Man, this is crazy.’

“It felt good coming off my hand,” he added with a smile.

Perhaps Taylor’s best highlight, though, came with 3:07 left, after Collins came away with a steal and started the fast break.

“I knew if Sherron gave it to me, I was going to dunk it,” Taylor said. “It was in my mind the whole time: If I catch it, I’m going to dunk it.”

Sure enough, Collins flipped the ball back to Taylor, who threw in a one-handed slam over UT’s Dogus Balbay to give the Jayhawks a 78-71 lead.

“I’m not sure what the score was at that time, but I felt like the whole momentum just changed,” Taylor said. “I felt like that was the exclamation point.”

Taylor said he and the other newcomers took pride in earning a Big 12 title of their own.

“I think if you ask a lot of people in this room right now if they think we could have did it at the beginning of the season, they’d have said no,” Taylor said. “I feel like we kind of proved some people wrong that we can do it.”

Comments

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 10 months ago

That fast break dunk was fantastic. The fifty or so people at the bar I was in just exploded.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

And we, KU, have him for three more years, possibly. WOW!!!

Debbie Mangen 10 years, 10 months ago

Kind of off subject. Can any of you tell me if the KU-Texas game will be shown again on ESPN Classic or some other channel? The Wichita area chose to run weather alerts throughout the entire game and finally opened the picture in picture screen up with about a minute left in the game. I'm not real clear with this dish television stuff. I'm hoping someone can tell me how to see the game, even if its on the computer. Thanks.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor is fun to watch for sure. I like how he tried to play off the three point bank in this article, the super sized smile during the game said it all.

Keep up the hard work Taylor.

Matt Bowers 10 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations Tyshawn. You played to your ability in the second half. Not to change the subject, but don't you think there should be an article about M.C. and M.K. and their consistent play through out the past several games? They are making Cole look better, taking his fouls, coming up with big plays when we need them, and they have only begun to show us what they are capable of. Not to discount Tyshawn because his performance was good, but at the same time, I think that M.C. and M.K. don't always get enough credit. That is just my opinion. Great win and hopefully we will come out of this with a two seed for the tournament.

Rock Chalk

jayhawker_97 10 years, 10 months ago

agreed kustrong, i thought the twins were stepping up to the challlenge as well. the putback dunk by Mk/c was great. that pumped me up. and of course, Ty 's 2nd half was inarguably amazing play guard-to-guard i want to see more!

let's aim big this time, no more lazy passes, silly turnovers, or outrebounded in our own side of the court... this is it! no more mistakes! no more second chance..

let's aim for ncaa trophy one more time..!! rock chalk!!

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