Taylor Explodes For 24 In Loss To Vandals
Idaho 2nd-Half Burst Too Much For Mean Green Basketball
T.J. Taylor exploded for a career-best 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting on Friday.
PORTLAND, Ore. – In a game of runs, it was the Idaho Vandals who landed the biggest punches and came away with an 87-76 victory over North Texas in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic held at the University of Portland.
A lightning-quick 3-point barrage from Idaho (3-2) out of the halftime break turned a nine-point game into a 56-36 Vandal lead in just over three minutes of clock time. The deficit woke up NT’s T.J. Taylor, who helped North Texas (2-3) respond with a 12-0 run of their own, but it was too little too late.
Taylor wowed the Chiles Center crowd with 24 points in what can only be considered his breakout performance. The junior scored 13 straight NT points late in the Mean Green’s comeback efforts, including and-one plays on back-to-back trips down the floor.
Taylor and North Texas brought late pressure on the Vandals, and forced a steal that led to an Alzee Williams bucket that cut the Idaho edge to 83-76 with 53 seconds left, but the Vandals were able to close the game with 8-of-8 free throw shooting over the final 1:44.
The night belonged to the Vandals’ Stephen Madison. The senior, who scored his 1,000th career point on Thursday night, poured in a game-high 25 points, including six buckets in the paint in the second half.
Next up for North Texas
• The Mean Green continues play at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic regional in Portland against the hosting Portland Pilots on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Central. The game is being webcast on PortlandPilots.com, or you can listen to the action on 88.1 KNTU or KNTU.com.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
• T.J. Taylor scored 24 points in 24 minutes of play, easily eclipsing his previous scoring high of two points against Nicholls State.
• Entering Friday, Idaho had won all eight previous meetings in the series, which dated back to when the Mean Green and Vandals were Big West Conference foes from 1996-2000.
• North Texas came into the game with an 18-40 record against current Western Athletic Conference (WAC) members.
• Colin Voss had eight points, all in the first half, for a career high.