Jayhawks ready to bounce back

During his tenure at Kansas, Head Coach Bill Self has had his teams ready to rock and roll in the wake of a loss. Tonight, in the wake of Saturday's tough loss to Missouri, Tyshawn Taylor and the Jayhawks look to continue that trend in Waco, Texas, versus the Baylor Bears.

Make no mistake, Tyshawn Taylor was fantastic in Saturday's loss to the Missouri Tigers.

He kept the team afloat in the first half, scoring 17 points before intermission and 21 overall. He completely erased the presence of Tigers point guard Phil Pressey, who is regarded by some as one of the top point guards in the country, holding him to more turnovers (3) than points (2), and just three assists in 27 minutes.

Yeah, the last 1:15 happened. During that time, as the Tigers were mounting a furious comeback from eight points down, Taylor turned it over twice - once on a dicey charging call - and missed a pair of free throws.

In a game as competitive as Saturday's, plays made during the home stretch have a tendency to find themselves underneath a proton microscope. That's just one of the harsh realities of big-time college sports. But that doesn't change the fact that for the overwhelming majority of the game, Taylor was one of the best - if not the best - players on the court.

Just ask Kansas head coach Bill Self.

"Let me tell you something, that kid played great," he said, adamantly. "He played great. And if I had it to do all over again, I'd want him on the free throw line more than anyone else on our team. He likes that moment more than anybody else. I don't have anything negative to say remotely."

It's a sign of Taylor's continued maturation that he disagrees with his coach's assessment of his play.

"Maybe after the season I'll be like 'Dang, I played pretty good that game,'" he said. "Not yet though, because I still feel like I could have done some things to kind of seal the game. So I think that's going to sit with me longer than me feeling like I played well."

During Self's tenure, the Jayhawks have been remarkably good at bouncing back and not letting one loss become two. And where losses are concerned, Taylor admitted, there's a fine line between letting it act as dead weight - and letting it become the emotional equivalent of rocket fuel.

However, it's a line they've learned to walk extremely well in his three years and change on campus.

"It's just one of those things, when you're a competitor you don't like to lose," Taylor said. "You especially don't like to lose to your rival, and when it's a game that close it hurts more. So it's going to be something we think about and I'm sure it's going to be in our heads, but we're definitely not going to dwell on it. We're going to just get better."

He doesn't like losing. His teammates and coaches don't like losing, and it's for good reason - they haven't had much practice at doing so.

The competitive fire and, for lack of a better term, sore losing bodes extremely well for the team. The road doesn't get any easier tonight, as the Jayhawks head to Waco to take on arguably the league's most talented team, the Baylor Bears.

After Saturday, Self is glad the team had a few extra days to recuperate before next taking to the court, though he trusts in their toughness - both mentally and physically.

"I think our guys will bounce back," he said. "If we don't play well, or if we don't win, it's not going to be because of what happened Saturday."

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.


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