Ryan Taylor continues to struggle against Minnesota

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Ryan Taylor continues to struggle against Minnesota

Ryan Taylor dribbles the ball. The graduate guard failed to score on Thursday.

Ryan Taylor dribbles the ball. The graduate guard failed to score on Thursday.

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Ryan Taylor dribbles the ball. The graduate guard failed to score on Thursday.

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Ryan Taylor dribbles the ball. The graduate guard failed to score on Thursday.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

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When Northwestern lined up to face Minnesota Thursday night, there wasn’t anything unusual about the starting lineup. Seniors Vic Law and Dererk Pardon were starting alongside junior forward Aaron Falzon, sophomore guard Anthony Gaines and graduate guard Ryan Taylor.

While Law and Pardon were two of the Wildcats’ only threats on offense and Gaines affected the game on the defensive side of the ball with four steals, the other two starters, particularly Taylor, were non-existent.

When coach Chris Collins and his staff brought Taylor in from Evansville, they probably expected him to be a highly-efficient scorer who could shoot the lights out from the perimeter. Instead, he has been a streaky shooter all season and has struggled to find his place in the offense.

His offensive production hit rock bottom on Thursday as he failed to score for the first time this season.

“We still believe in him,” Pardon said. “It happens. Sometimes you don’t score, sometimes it’s just not your night. We just have to make sure he gets the ball in the right spots … he’ll knock them down.”

When Taylor transferred from Evansville, he was regarded as one of the best shooters in the NCAA. As a junior, Taylor scored 21.3 points per game and was extremely efficient from the field, shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 42.4 from behind the arc.

But the graduate transfer has not been able to find his rhythm, scoring nine points in the past four games including Thursday night. NU’s offense primarily revolves around getting Law the ball on the perimeter. While Law was struggling during the middle of the season, Taylor had the prime opportunity to take over the reins from the perimeter.

Instead, he faded from being a major role in the offense. After hitting a couple of clutch shots against Rutgers and scoring 14 points, Taylor has scored in double figures only once. On Thursday, the Golden Gophers held Taylor to just three shots.

He played for the first six minutes of the game before getting subbed out for junior forward A.J. Turner, and played just seven more minutes the rest of the game. It was obvious that Collins didn’t feel that Taylor could have an effect on the offense.
Collins said part of the reason why Taylor isn’t getting looks is because defenses are keying in on him so that he doesn’t get shots.

While there are three games remaining in the season, the Cats still have a few more chances to allow Taylor to show NU fans what he can do offensively.

“I have to continue to do a good job trying to get him shots,” Collins said. “We need production… Our inability to break people down at times can hurt him because he doesn’t get a lot of open kick outs … I gotta continue to work hard to get him the ball.”

Email: andrewgolden2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @andrewcgolden

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