For the first time in the five games since his return from the broken left wrist, he was attacking the basket, from the beginning, drawing defenders and dishing to bigs like Cameron Ridley for easy buckets.
As a result, Ridley stayed hot after his 19-point performance vs West Virginia, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first half at TCU.
Taylor scored 9 points on 4-of-6 shooting with 4 assists in the first half, when UT took control of the game and led 33-20. The sophomore PG finished with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting with 6 assists, 3 turnovers and 7 rebounds.
He was a different player from the one that barely showed up in the box score against WVU (3 points on 1-of-5 shooting).
In the first four games of his return from injury - at Tech, home vs OU, at Ok State, home vs WVU - Taylor was just 10 of 40 shooting (25 percent) with 13 assists and 11 turnovers.
Tonight, Taylor was back to his old self. And TCU is no slouch defensively - ranked No. 1 in the B12, holding teams to 55 points per game.
Getting Taylor back to his old self is great timing with Kansas up next – at home in Austin at 1 pm CT Saturday on CBS.
#2 … Cam Ridley was able to carry over the energy and efficiency he showed in UT’s blowout victory over West Virginia in which Ridley did a bunch of the heavy lifting early.
Ridley scored 11 of UT’s first 22 points vs WVU. And against TCU, Ridley did most of his damage in the first half, including all of his scoring (10 points on 4-of-6 shooting).
Ridley attempted only 1 shot in the second half – and missed. (More on this in a moment.)
Ridley’s final line: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 1 turnover in 23 minutes of action.
#3 … The positive was the great start and commitment Texas made to go inside from the jump.
But after getting up 13 points at halftime, Texas’ energy changed to start the second half – and TCU was the aggressor. The Horns went away from the inside game and started settling for jumpers – and missed.
TCU went on a 12-2 run in which Texas attempted three missed 3-pointers (1 by Taylor and 2 by Javan Felix) as the Longhorns’ lead shrunk from 24 to 14 (54-40) with 4:51 left.
Against a better team on the road, that run by TCU could have been fatal for Texas.
The Horns should never attempt three straight 3-point shots – ever – with that inside game.
#4 … Texas’ defensive intensity is back.
After giving up 40 percent shooting in five straight games, the Longhorns have gotten back to sucking the life out of opposing team’s offense. And they did it the last two games playing an aggressive zone defense that’s done a nice job of moving and getting out to shooters.
WVU shot just 24.1 percent vs Texas on Saturday as the Longhorns used full-court pressure (WVU’s own game) to turn the Mountaineers upside down before UT settled into its zone.
TCU shot 33 percent, and Horned Frogs’ leading scorer Kyan Anderson had just 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting.
#5 … The Horned Frogs aren’t the best offensive team in the league. The opposite. They’re the best defensive team, holding teams to 55 points per game.
So credit Texas for imposing its will on the Frogs.
Now, let’s see if it happens again Saturday against Kansas, the 10-time defending, Big 12 regular-season champions.
I think Texas matches up well with the Jayhawks this year and can get after KU in Austin (on another huge official visit weekend for Texas football, by the way).
Playing Bill Self's team at Allen Fieldhouse (Feb. 28) is always a different story. That's why being dialed in offensively and defensively again on Saturday will be critical.