OXFORD, Miss. — Marlon Taylor was the last player to get dressed in the LSU basketball team’s locker room Saturday night.
While his teammates were back out on the court visiting with family and friends after an 80-76 comeback win over Ole Miss, Taylor was taking care of his twice-surgically repaired left foot while also savoring the moment.
Just four nights after missing the team’s trip to Texas A&M because of more issues with the foot he initially injured back in June, Taylor was all smiles as a visitor welcomed him back.
“Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve felt this good,” he said.
Taylor had every reason to smile considering his contributions to LSU’s sixth consecutive win and 12th Southeastern Conference road win in a row dating to last season.
Playing in just his seventh game, he posted season highs of 13 points and six rebounds while playing 32 minutes — eight more than the previous high of 24 he had in a win at Tennessee on Jan. 4.
OXFORD, Miss. — The LSU basketball team can’t seem to stay out of close, edge-of-your-seat games this season.
The 6-foot-6 Taylor finally looked like the exciting, high-flying player LSU fans came to love in his first season a year ago, making big play after big play when the Tigers needed him most with Charles Manning sidelined by a broken bone in his foot.
Playing with an abundance of energy against Ole Miss, Taylor was one of the stars of the game inside and outside and on the defensive end for Will Wade’s team.
Taylor had a dunk and a 3-point basket and made four free throws down the stretch when LSU (13-4, 5-0 SEC) connected on 10 consecutive freebies to overcome a six-point deficit in the final six minutes.
Taylor was one of two players who came off the bench to affect the outcome of the game as redshirt freshman Aundre Hyatt did his part by burying two 3-point baskets in the second half and finished with six points.
But having Taylor back was big, and both Wade and guard Skylar Mays pointed out that he looked like himself again.
“He looked like his old self,” Wade said. “I think the rest he got from not playing the other night helped him out. He looked pretty fresh out there.”
“Marlon was awesome tonight,” said Mays, who had two big layups and four free throws in the Tigers’ closing 19-9 run. “He was the best athlete on the floor and he put that athleticism into the game tonight.”
He showed up in helping hand Ole Miss (9-8, 0-4 SEC) a tough loss after the Rebels got a dazzling performance from all-conference guard Breein Tyree.
Tyree poured in a career-high 36 points, but only six came after he gave his team a 67-61 lead with 6:55 to play when Taylor used his length to help keep Tyree from doing any more damage.
“We just talked about wanting to put Marlon on him, so we would have our best athlete on him and make sure we didn't let him get to his right hand,” Wade said of Tyree.
“When he gets to his right hand, he's almost unguardable. We wanted to keep him on the left side of the floor and keep him contained over there as best we could."
Taylor was more than happy to help out after having to remain home Tuesday night after visiting with doctors earlier that day.
“I just had some soreness and I wanted to make sure everything was good with it,” he said. “I spent the whole week rehabbing with (trainer) Shawn Eddy and he really took care of me. I felt fresh, I really did.
“I had a lot to play for tonight because Charles was out and other guys had no choice but to step up. I felt like I was back, but I have a lot more to give this season. This was just a start.”