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February 15, 2012

Taylor leaving his mark on Kansas program

Long after the final buzzer had sounded inside Bramlage Coliseum, Tyshawn Taylor emerged from the visitors' locker room decked out in Kansas warm-ups while adjusting the Beats by Dre headphones that sat comfortably upon his head.

Playing on the road in a hostile environment, Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor refused to let the fourth-ranked Jayhawks squander another double-digit lead. Leading by 10 points at intermission, Kansas found itself down by one point near the midway point of the second half.

Trailing 37-36, Taylor, with one second remaining on the shot clock, hit a three-pointer from the top of the key that hit Kansas State like a one ton brick.

Then, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard from Hoboken, N.J., hit another three-pointer and, as Mondays Sunflower Showdown was nearing its end, Traylor drove baseline for a two-handed flush, which capped off KU's second half rally.

Following Taylor's 20 point, five rebound and three assist outing, he made his way from the visiting locker room to the Bramlage Coliseum to find his mother anxiously awaiting her postgame hung.

Before mother and son embraced on Monday night, Taylor, while making the walk from the tunnel to the Bramlage Coliseum floor, talked to Jayhawk Slant about his performance.

"On the first three-point shot I hit, the ball went through my hand, went backcourt," said Taylor. "That's when I just picked up the ball, drove the middle and shot it. Yea, I think it probably was one of the biggest ones (shots) and I didn't even realize the score when I shot it.

"The ball ended up going in and we took the lead," he added. "I came down and hit another one, which put us up by five, so that was good."

Since the start of Big 12 play, not many guards have been as impressive as Taylor. With just five regular season games remaining, Taylor is averaging 16.9 points, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

In leading Kansas to a Big 12 best 11-2 record, Taylor has had scoring games of 28, 28, 22, 17, 16, 21, 21, 19 and 20. After stumbling on the road against Iowa State and Missouri, Bill Self's squad rebounded by defeating No. 6 ranked (at the time) Baylor, 68-54, and Kansas State, 59-53, on Monday night.

Against the Bears and Wildcats, Taylor shot 7-of-13 from behind the arc and dished out eight dimes. With the regular season nearing its end, Kansas, to the surprise of many, has emerged as a serious contender for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Despite losing Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Mario Little, Kansas is back in the national championship race.

"Coach Self is an amazing coach," said Taylor. "He really knows his stuff. Like going into the triangle and two tonight (Monday), they didn't score for like three or four possessions. That was huge for us, and Coach Self is a really smart dude.

"I've got to give all the credit to him," he added. "Of course, we bust our butt's every day, we've got the best player in the country (Thomas Robinson), we've got Jeff Withey, arguably one of the best big men in the country and I've been playing pretty good myself."


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