By Steve Kallas
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Yes, it’s hard to fathom. Yes, it’s amazing. Yes, it’s the all-time college scoring record for points in a game. But the feat of Grinnell’s Jack Taylor, scoring 138 points in a D-III college game, also raises a number of questions.
HOW COULD IT HAPPEN?
This is arguably the most interesting question. How can a player shoot 108 times in a 40-minute game? Better yet, how can a player shoot 108 times in 36 minutes, since Taylor did not play the matchup in its entirety? (What? He needed a rest?)
By now you know the numbers: 27 of 71 from three-point land, 25 of 37 from two-point land, 7 of 10 from the foul line — and no assists (what did you expect?).
To this writer, here’s the best question: What was the other coach thinking? Doing? From the 15 or so baskets that this writer has seen video of, Faith Baptist Bible (which dropped to 0-5) played man-to-man defense (well, if you can call it defense) the entire game. Of those 15 or so baskets, Taylor was double-teamed ONCE -– and that came very late.
The answer, of course, as to what the Faith Baptist coach should have done is two-fold: if a guy, at any level, scores 58 by halftime, you don’t know what you’re doing if you don’t come out in a box-and-one for the second half. Maybe the Faith Baptist coach is a die-hard man-to-man guy like Bob Knight. But those plans have to be re-examined if your man-to-man has given up 58 by the half.
In fact, one can debate whether you are actually playing man-to-man DEFENSE if a team goes for 179 against you.
The second part of the equation is equally simple. If you are playing a team that likes a run-and-gun tempo (Grinnell, according to published reports, has led the nation in scoring 17 of the last 19 seasons), you have to consider taking the air out of the ball. Your opponent can’t, by mathematical definition, score 179 or take 136 shots (as a team) if you keep the ball for 30-35 seconds per possession.
Not that Faith Baptist Bible was complicit in this ”achievement,” but a rec league coach could have found a few ways to slow this train down.
Grinnell, again according to published reports, likes to press, shoot threes and hoist them up quickly. An open question has to be: Did Grinnell press? And, if yes, for how long? You often run into these things in high school or travel ball slaughters. If you are up 39 at the half, you might want to think about calling off the dogs. Again, an open question.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, GRIFFIN LENTSCH?
Who? Well, if you are a college basketball junkie, you might know that Lentsch, a Grinnell player, last year broke the all-time D-III scoring record by scoring 89 in a game against Principia College. Lentsch also led the nation in three-point field goals per game with 4.43 per game.
So, where was Griffin Lentsch this year? Why, he was playing in last night’s record-breaking game, of course. Lentsch’s stat line Tuesday night? Two for three from the floor (including one for two from three-point land) and 2-2 from the free-throw line for seven points.
DID DAVID LARSON HAVE A BETTER GAME THAN JACK TAYLOR?
Well, that could certainly be open to debate. Larson, the high scorer for Faith Baptist Bible, had 70 points on 34 of 44 shooting (it did take him all 40 minutes, however). While Jack Taylor was quoted by the AP as saying, “it felt like anything I tossed up was going in,” the reality is that he shot 48 percent (52-108) from the field while the rest of his team shot 57 percent (16-28) from the field.
Maybe Jack should have set up his teammates a bit more. Larson, meanwhile, shot a staggering 77 percent (34-44) from the field, a truly amazing number, especially for so many attempts.
So, who had the better game? I think many college coaches would pick Larson.
Well, you still have to give credit for an amazing performance by Jack Taylor. Nobody thought that Rio Grande’s Bevo Francis’s 1954 record of 113 points (against Hillsdale) would ever be broken.
But that record has been shattered — by 25 points.
Having said that, as usual, a performance like this often raises more questions than it answers.
Draw your own conclusions.
Was the performance an embarrassment to sportsmanship or something to be celebrated? Weigh in below…