College Basketball Nation: 138 points
November, 20, 2012
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
Maybe we should have seen it coming.
After all, when Grinnell guard Jack Taylor broke the NCAA all-time single-game scoring record -- a record that has stood since 1954 -- with 138 points Tuesday night, he didn't do it for just any random basketball program. He did it for Grinnell.
For the past two decades, Grinnell coach David Arseneault has been running his system ("The System"), based on his formula ("The Formula"), which explicitly requires his team to shoot at least 94 field goals per game, 47 of which should be 3-pointers. Arseneault recruits almost exclusively sharpshooting guards, so that his players can be interchangeable when he runs them in quickfire all-five line changes every other minute. It's a totally insane, totally thrilling way to play basketball, and it's also an elephant and a tiger and a creepy clown shy of a straight-up circus freakshow.
So when you ask yourself, "How in the name of everything holy did some D-III kid just score 138 points?," Arseneault's crazy system is a good place to start.
But alas, it's not the whole answer. Typically, Grinnell's offense is designed to be balanced. In Tuesday night's 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible, however, Taylor shot 108 field goals (he made 52), 71 of which were 3s (he made 27). He recorded three rebounds and zero assists, and he didn't even shoot 50 percent from the field. The rest of his teammates combined for a grand total of 28 field goals. So not only was Grinnell running its inherently insane team system, it was obviously running it with the expressed purpose of getting Taylor enough shots to score an utterly mind-blowing number of points.
A more cynical person would say that it's pretty clear what Grinnell was trying to do here. It wasn't merely trying to win a game. It was trying to set a record and get on "SportsCenter" and reap the benefits of copious Internet coverage. And guess what: It worked.
And guess what else: I don't care! Whatever the aim, it'd be foolish to try and take anything away from Taylor. At the end of the day, I don't really care how you score 138 points. It's 138 points! The sheer act of getting up 108 shots in a 40-minute game is in and of itself an impressive athletic accomplishment, regardless of how many go in.
So, no, Taylor may not have scored 138 points in anything resembling a conventional way. But I'm not sure there is such a thing. And if you've got a better idea, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, Taylor's record will stand for a very long time -- or at least until Grinnell decides to break it again.
(Editor's Note: You absolutely must check out this box score. And not to be lost in all of the hoopla over Taylor, Faith Baptist Bible's David Larson made 34 of 44 shots for 70 points! Greatest performance ever in a game in which your team lost by 75? We think so.)