Taylor Excited About Saturday's Game

Kansas freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor came up big last time KU faced the 'Cats. Can he repeat? David Garfield with more, inside.

Tyshawn Taylor exploded for one of the best games of his young career against K-State on Jan. 13, scoring 20 points while recording three assists and two steals in 34 minutes during KU's 87-71 victory in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas will need the freshman guard to step up big again when the two teams meet in Manhattan at 2:30 p.m. (CST) on Saturday.

Especially on defense.

Taylor said he's expecting to defend Wildcats' 6-0 guard Denis Clemente. The junior, who scored just nine points on 3 of 13 shooting in the last meeting, can certainly light up the nets. Clemente broke loose for a career-high 44 points at Texas on Jan. 31 in KSU's thrilling 85-81 overtime victory.

Clemente, one of the fastest players in the nation, is averaging a team-high 14.3 points per game.

"I have to keep him in front of (me)," Taylor said. "He can make shots, so play ‘D.' Don't let him go off."

And offensively, Taylor knows he must take better care of the ball. He tied his season high with six turnovers in KU's 62-60 loss at Missouri on Monday.

"I think that was the fastest paced game I've played in so far," Taylor said. "I got sped up and had a lot of dumb turnovers. It's just something I got to learn from."

KU (19-5, 8-1 Big 12) got completely "sped up" against MU, committing 27 turnovers. A quick and tough team, the Wildcats (17-7, 6-4) will try to turn up the defensive heat on Kansas playing in front of their rabid fans in Bramlage Coliseum.

"We just have to keep our composure and not get sped up as much," Taylor said. "We want to play fast, but we have to play fast and under control. The other day, we didn't play under control at all. We got to learn how to play fast, but under control. If we do that, then we'll be fine."

Taylor actually had a good shooting game against the Tigers, making 5 of 6 shots for 11 points. That was his second straight game in double figures. He scored 12 points versus Oklahoma State on Feb. 7.

The New Jersey native is averaging 9.7 points, 3.04 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.1 minutes per game. He's shooting 50 percent from the field, 32.6 percent from three-point range, and 73.5 percent at the free throw line.

He's been relatively pleased with his play.

"I think I'm having an OK season," Taylor said. "Eight and one in the conference isn't too bad. There's some things I can do better. I can lower my turnovers (27 turnovers to 23 assists in Big 12 play). Sometimes I get a little careless and I think I see things that aren't really there. I just got to make a simple play and make sure we get a shot every possession."

That will be vital against K-State, which has won six straight after starting the conference season 0-4. Taylor said the Wildcats were a good team during their last matchup, but have picked their game up a notch.

"I think they're all on the same page," Taylor said. "They all have the same goal. Before it looked like they were all scattered around like everybody was out for themselves. They're a tough team. They beat a real good Texas team. We know we can go in there and be upset. We got to play hard."

"I don't think it's a must win," he added. "We can't go in there thinking (that). We just got to play our game."

If Taylor plays like he did during the last KU-KSU meeting, the Jayhawks' chances of winning will be that much better. The confident guard is looking forward to the challenge of playing in another hostile arena and rebound after losing to MU on Monday.

"I heard a lot of stuff (from the Antlers) I can't say on camera, but that's the type of environments we want to play in because it feels so much better winning," Taylor said.  

"I like playing in those types of environments, so I'm excited for this game."

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