Taylor banks in game winner to sneak Longhorns past Stanford

Akshay Mirchandani

Saturday’s late night contest against Stanford was something of a homecoming for Isaiah Taylor. The junior guard was born in Hayward, California — about a 35 minute drive from Stanford.

Fittingly, Taylor was the hero. With 7.9 seconds to play and the game tied at 73-73, Taylor ran down the court and drove to the lane, where he was met by Stanford’s 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Michael Humphrey. Taylor put up a high floater to evade Humphrey’s block attempt.

The ball kissed the glass and dropped into the net with 1.1 seconds left, giving Texas a 75-73 win over Stanford on Saturday night in its first true road game of the season.

That shot will be remembered, but Taylor was dialed in all night in his Northern California return, scoring 26 points and dishing out six assists in Texas’ sixth straight win. He and the Longhorns came out on fire offensively from the beginning.

Texas was up by 10 with 10:57 left in the first half, but Stanford’s three-point and free-throw shooting helped it stay in the game. The Cardinal got in the bonus early and made 14-of-16 from the free-throw line, while shooting 50 percent from three. Texas, meanwhile, was just 1-of-3 from the free-throw line in the first half.

Taylor had 16 of his points in the first half while the team shot 56.3 percent in the first 20 minutes, going into halftime up 41-35.

The Longhorns were up by 10 again with 8:49 left in the game, but the Cardinal rallied. An 8-0 run and a nearly four-minute Texas scoring drought helped Stanford come back and cut the Texas lead to 70-68 with 18 seconds to play. Taylor knocked down two free throws to extend it to 72-68, but a quick 5-1 Stanford run tied it all up at 73-73.

Taylor then put the exclamation point on his night. Like last week against North Carolina, head coach Shaka Smart didn’t call a timeout and let Taylor bring the ball up the court. Unlike last week, Taylor didn’t settle for a three — instead, he drove to the rim.

The decision paid off, giving the Longhorns the the lead. Stanford missed its last three-point attempt of the game, clinching the win for Texas.

The Longhorns don’t play again until Dec. 29, when UConn visits the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.