Zaire Taylor was named to the All-Big 12 Team on Sunday.
March 7, 2010
Columbia, Mo. - Mizzou Basketball had three representatives named to various All-Big 12 teams on Sunday, as Kim English and Zaire Taylor were named All-Big 12 and senior J.T. Tiller was named to the All-Defensive Team for the second consecutive year.
Tiller was again masterful slowing down opponents in his senior season and helped Missouri to its best team defensive totals in 11 years. Tiller spearheaded a Tiger defense that allowed opponents to shoot just 40.5 percent from the floor and 30.1 percent from three-point range this season as Missouri enjoyed its second consecutive 20-win campaign. Tiller made 28 starts for the Tigers and ranked fourth on the club with 38 steals. He was also among team leaders in deflections.
In addition, Tiller was named to the Big 12's All-Academic Team last week and will graduate from Mizzou with a degree in Business this spring.
English and Taylor earned nods on the All-Big 12 squad, with English being named to the Third Team and Taylor an honorable mention pick. English was one of just three underclassmen named to the First, Second or Third teams this year, joining Kansas' Marcus Morris (Second) and Oklahoma's Tommy Mason-Griffin (Third). He is also the first Missouri underclassman named to the top three squads since Kareem Rush earned First Team accolades as a sophomore in 2000-01. He also joins Rush, Keyon Dooling (Second Team as a sophomore in 2000) and Clarence Gilbert (Third Team as a sophomore in 2000) as the only Tiger sophomores named to the All-Big 12 First, Second or Third teams in school history.
The Baltimore, Md., native led Missouri in scoring this season at 14.1 points per game and is second on the team in three-point makes (61). English is also averaging 3.5 rebounds, tops among Tiger guards, and is third on the team with 44 total steals. The ever-steady sophomore reached double figures in scoring 20 times, including a season high 26 points against Chattanooga and 24 vs. Illinois in the Tiger victory in St. Louis. He also dropped in 20+ in Big 12 road wins at Texas Tech (20) and Colorado (21) and scored 20 in the home triumph over Oklahoma State.
Taylor was the "Swiss Army Knife" of Mizzou this season and led the club in scoring, rebounding, three-point makes, assists, blocks and steals in at least one game this season. Taylor scored a season high 18 points in the road win at Nebraska, while grabbing a team-leading eight rebounds vs. the Huskers. The Staten Island, N.Y., native is also #2 in the Big 12 in steals (1.9 spg) and owns a 2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio (81 steals, 38 turnovers) in 27 starts. Taylor is averaging 8.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists on the season, but has seen his numbers increase in league action to 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 16 Big 12 games.
Taylor is also one of the Big 12's grittiest performers and owns four career game-winners in 32 career Big 12 games. Taylor knocked off #16 Kansas and #16 Texas last season with game-winners and hit clutch shots in the Tigers' 74-68 win against #10 Kansas State and 69-67 overtime triumph at Iowa State. With the score tied 66-66 against the nationally-ranked Wildcats and just over :30 seconds remaining, Taylor drilled a back-breaking three-pointer from the top of the key to hand Mizzou the upset win. Last week at Iowa State Taylor tied the game in regulation with :17 seconds left to force overtime and then tied the game with :11 seconds left in OT, setting up his driving floater to win the game as the buzzer sounded.
Missouri returns to action in the opening round of the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday vs. Nebraska. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
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