"They got us," Taylor said.
'They' meant the Texas Longhorns, who handed the Jayhawks one of their two losses on the season and wrecked the nation's longest home winning streak. Though the length of time between the two games would have indicated that the dish of revenge was best served cold, the Jayhawks ensured that the fires ran hot, with Markieff Morris finding the Longhorns prior to their semifinal game for a little trash talking.
As it turned out, Morris, and the Jayhawks, could back it up, defeating the Longhorns 85-73 to claim the Big 12 Tournament Championship.
The Jayhawks (32-2) jumped out early, taking a 27-15 lead and overcoming a Longhorn run to enter the locker room up 48-33, thanks in part to 10 fast break points.
"Their transition was because of our lack of good offense," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "(We) didn't have the floor balance. One pass not letting our offense develop, and our guys getting caught out of position."
The Longhorns were without star forward Tristan Thompson for eight minutes of that first half with foul trouble, putting up just three points, one rebound and zero blocks.
Taylor took advantage of Thompson's absence, driving to the basket and scoring 13 first-half points. As a team, Kansas shot almost 59 percent from the field.
The second half fell into a pattern: Texas making a small run and Kansas rebuffing said runs. When Cory Joseph hit a jumper to cut the lead to eight at 60-52, Taylor hit a three. When J'Covan Brown hit a three of his own, Tyrel Reed hit another three and Markieff Morris stuffed in a rebound. Brown again brought the Longhorns to within eight with a three-pointer, this time with 4:25 remaining, but Brady Morningstar hit a pull-up and Thomas Robinson tipped a rebound in.
The Longhorns never came any closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Kansas shot almost 57 percent from the floor for the game, and had six scorers score in double figures: Taylor (20), Marcus Morris (17), Markieff Morris (14), Morningstar (13), Reed (11) and Robinson (10).
"That's why they won the regular season, and that's why they won the regular season tournament," Barnes said. "They're the most consistent team, from start to finish."
Taylor was scored 20 points and dropped five assists to just two turnovers.
"Tonight, he was fabulous," Self said. "He played like a point guard should play. He initiated, he finished when he needed to."
Texas was led by Hamilton with 21 points, Brown with 17 and Joseph with 14. Thompson, who played just 21 minutes, had seven points on 3-4 shooting and grabbed two rebounds. Gary Johnson's struggles continued, with the senior forward hitting 1-of-9 attempts from the field.
Still, the Longhorns (27-7) said they also felt like they would be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.
"We're going to get back to practice and get back to the drawing board and look at film and see what we have to work on," Hamilton said. "And once we do that, I think we'll be ready." Barnes concurred.
"We're a good team. We can beat anybody, there's no doubt in my mind," Barnes said. "We'll be a team that no one wants to play. We're capable on any given night to beat anybody."