Grinnell's Jack Taylor didn't just amend the NCAA's record books when he scored 138 points -- a new collegiate high mark -- in his team's 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible Tuesday night. The Division III star wrote a new chapter.
"There was a point during the second half where I hit a number of threes in a row -- maybe seven or eight -- I felt like anything I threw up was going in," Taylor said. "I've been in the zone before but I've never taken so many shots."
Bevo Francis of Rio Grande held the NCAA scoring record with 113 points against Hillsdale in 1954. In 1953, Francis had 116 against Ashland Junior College. Frank Selvy is the only other player to reach triple figures, scoring 100 points for Division I Furman against Newberry in 1954.
Incredible, though putting up 108 shots will give you a decent shot at that. There are a few other things to consider when putting the record in perspective as well.
But it's much more than just taking a lot of threes, or winning the turnover battle. According to a former Grinnell player who took part in one of those record-setting games, the gameplan is designed from the outset to get a specific player the scoring mark, even at the expense of making a mockery of the game. The player told Deadspin:"The strategy was to use a full court press after a made basket, with the caveat that [the player seeking the record] would not cross into the defensive side of the court. So, after our opponents broke our press, we were essentially playing four-on-five, which enabled the other team to take quicker shots and fall into our game plan.
"The rationale is to essentially trade off a quick two or more attempts at lower probability 3-point shots. Given the high pace required for the system, Grinnell shifts in five players every 30 to 45 seconds. Within each shift there is a primary shooter who will take the bulk of threes (or shots) during the shift."
This worked to perfection last night, and you can see it in the play-by-play. Grinnell would regularly sub out four players at a time, keeping Taylor on the court to continue chucking up threes—71 attempts from beyond the arc, to be specific. He also rarely bothered getting back on defense, with Grinnell content to let Faith Baptist score a quick two, if they didn't turn the ball over immediately. Taylor finished with just three rebounds, all off his own misses.
This, then, is how you score 138 points—a defense designed to get the ball back as fast as possible, even if it means letting the other team score. And the entire offense being funneled through one player, at the expense of turning down open shots. Tyler Burns rewatched the entire game, and had a few observations:There were a LOT of possessions where Taylor would chuck up a shot, miss, and his teammate would get the rebound wide open under the basket. Instead of putting it back up, he would look for Taylor again and pass it out so he could chuck another three. There were many possessions where this happened three times each. Six three-point attempts in two trips down the court.
Literally 75% of [Faith Baptist's] points were full court heaves to get it over Grinnell's press, then a wide open layup on the other end. Oh, and David Larsen's "impressive" 70-point effort? Hardly. They were 90% wide open layups. He maybe took a handful of jump shots.