Archive for November, 2012

Liveblog: Grinnell College vs. William Penn University, 5:00pm EST

Five days removed from his NCAA record-breaking 138-point performance, Jack Taylor will take the court today versus the 11-0 William Penn University Statesmen at 5:00pm EST. Taylor’s absurd stat line vs. Faith Baptist last Tuesday night made national headlines, including appearances on SportsCenter and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Having only the game’s box score to go on, I, too, went to bed that night convinced that this was one of the most amazing performances in sports history.

Out of curiosity, I decided to watch the game film the next morning. Within minutes, I could tell that this record was not what it appeared to be. I updated my blog post from the night before to include my findings from the tape. The record was a total sham and the entire game made a complete mockery of the game of basketball. Deadspin picked up on the skepticism and their post helped lead the way into slowing down the crowning of Jack Taylor.

Curiosity has the best of me again today, as I must see where Jack Taylor and Grinnell go from here. On paper, it looks like the matchup against undefeated William Penn is much more balanced. Will Jack Taylor chuck up another 100 shots? Will Grinnell spread it around a little more?  Keep checking back here for my liveblog throughout the game.

Since the game clock is not visible during the live stream of the game, I’ll just use the actual time (Eastern) as my reference points along the way.

5:04pm: The announcer said this is the most full he’s ever seen the Grinnell gym in his three years calling games.

5:06pm: ESPN has cameras as well as an anchor on-hand for the game.

5:11pm: Opening possession for William Penn results in a fastbreak dunk. This team could run with Grinnell.

5:14pm: Already several steals for William Penn so far. Grinnell looks very sloppy and out of sorts.

5:17pm: William Penn with two alley-oop attempts already. Definitely some athletes on this team.

5:18pm: Four minutes in, and Jack Taylor hasn’t even attempted a shot yet.

5:20pm: 6’1″, 205 lb. G Blake Walker has been guarding Taylor so far. Height/weight advantage over Taylor. I don’t see Taylor getting shots up too easily over this guy. He’s long.

5:22pm: Already seven different players have scored so far for Grinnell. Jack Taylor with only one shot attempt six minutes in.

5:25pm: Five consecutive possessions of missed shots between the two teams. Really sloppy, but this is run & gun. 25-17 William Penn with 12 left in the half.

5:27pm: Taylor with a nice drive to the hoop and sinks the floater. And-1. His first bucket of the game.

5:30pm: Grinnell is just 2-17 from 3 so far this game. Chucking it early and often, but nothing is falling. Hanging in there down 29-22 midway through the first half.

5:32pm: The difference between William Penn and Faith Baptist is night and day. This is an actual team with a good game plan to stop Grinnell. Taylor is forcing it to the hole but has 3 turnovers already. Only 3 points. 1-7 from the field, 0-5 from 3.

5:35pm: William Penn is pulling away, 37-23. Shooting 15-25 from the field. Doing it on the defensive end as well, with 7 steals and 3 blocks.

5:38pm: Fifteen different players have already seen the floor for Grinnell. The scoring is pretty spread out. If you were watching this game with no prior knowledge of this team, you wouldn’t know who their leader is.

5:40pm: The only thing worse than Grinnell’s shooting performance is their video/audio feed. Their video feed is currently a white screen with a giant red question mark.

5:44pm: Video feed is finally back up. William Penn is up 54-38 with 5 left in the first half.

5:45pm: William Penn is already in the double bonus. Perhaps “The Bomb Squad” will be making their debut? Doubtful. William Penn is shooting 80% from the line.

5:50pm: Griffen Lentsch leads the way for Grinnell with 11 points to Taylor’s 7. Lentsch held the previous D3 record with 89 points in a game last year. Lentsch is 4-18 from the field. 62-51 Penn with 2 left in the half.

5:52pm: Taylor with a really nice drive and dish. He has good court vision when he isn’t chucking threes. Two assists so far, to his zero last game.

5:55pm: Halftime. 64-55 Penn. Taylor is 2-9 from the field with 7 points. He’ll need just 132 points in the 2nd half to top his career high. Look for him to start chucking.

6:10pm: I can’t imagine what that ESPN anchor is reporting about. I’m struggling making a blog post interesting that maybe a hundred people will read. Unless things really pick up in the 2nd half, ESPN will be returning to Bristol with its tail between its legs and one crappy highlight reel.

6:12pm: The 2nd half is underway, yet no audio feed. What are these student broadcasters doing? Isn’t this the biggest game of their careers?

6:15pm: And now the video feed is out. Again with the red question mark. GET IT TOGETHER!

6:17pm: Griffin Lentsch continues to lead the way for Grinnell with 16 points. He is 5-24 from the field. 74-64 Penn. Nine 3’s for Grinnell to Penn’s three is keeping them in this game, no matter how many they miss.

6:21pm: 80-66 William Penn with 15 to play. I don’t think any lead is safe for William Penn, but they have controlled the entire game. Rebound advantage for Penn is 48-31.

6:24pm: Taylor just hit threes on back-to-back possessions. Really nice looking shots. 17 points on the night. Penn still leads 86-75.

6:29pm: Five players in double figures for Penn. They are shooting 60% from the field which is pretty impressive given the pace of this game. Grinnell is shooting 33%.

6:33pm: I’m pretty sure Grinnell recruited this Luke Yaeger kid solely because of his last name. The announcer is shouting “YAEGER BOMB!” every chance he gets.

6:40pm: The whistles are blowing in this game. A combined 57 fouls have been called so far. Only 30 fouls were called in Grinnell’s last game. Actual defense is being attempted. 100-88 Penn with 9 minutes left.

6:49pm: 114-101 lead for Penn with 6 to play. More of the same in the second half. Penn is going bucket-for-bucket with Grinnell, shooting at a much higher %. 15 3-pointers for Grinnell, 6 for Penn. Both teams are in the double bonus, so this could be a long 6 minutes.

6:53pm: Grinnell lives and dies by the 3. They just chucked one on a 3-on-1 fast break. Clank. They did sink one on the next possession, however. Grinnell cuts it to 7 with 4 and a half to go.

7:01pm: 128-114 William Penn with a minute and a half to play. Penn has controlled the entire game, holding a 10-ish point lead the whole way.

7:10pm: FINAL. 131-116 win for William Penn. Seven players in double figures for Penn.

Well, I would consider that a waste of two hours. At least I didn’t pack up and attend this game like ESPN did.

The shot attempts for Taylor in his first four games tells you all you need to know: 18, 23, 108, 21. Give Grinnell credit: they held to their game plan. They definitely nailed Faith Baptist as their weakest opponent, and they definitely did everything they could to abuse the box score and get on SportsCenter. It worked. But I think it will be forgotten about as quickly as it happened. That is, until they play Faith Baptist again at some point…

Advertisements

138 points in a single game? What the box score tells us

Jack Taylor, a sophomore guard from Grinnell College, just shattered the NCAA scoring record with 138 points in a single game. 138 points. A good number of college games don’t even see that many COMBINED points. It’s stunning. Grinnell’s website supposedly has archived video of all their basketball games, but it appears to be down. You’d really need to see the game film to get the full story, but the box score just popped up on d3hoops.com’s website, so I had to have a look.

Just some random observations from this box score:

  • Taylor is only 5’10”. The shortest guy on Faith Baptist’s team is 5’10”. They couldn’t put someone on Taylor to shut him down after his first 50 shot attempts? Maybe try double teaming?
  • Taylor played 36 of 40 minutes. He scored nearly 4 points a minute. That’s incredible.
  • The dude jacked 71 threes. Their opponent shot only six threes. SIX.
  • He didn’t shoot a particularly great % from the field, but take away his 3-pt attempts and he shot 25-37, a very, very good 67.5%.
  • The team only had 22 assists on 68 field goals made. That is the definition of run-and-gun.
  • Taylor attempted 26 more shots than the other team combined.
  • Grinnell used 20 players in this game. Faith Baptist used 10.
  • Perhaps just as impressive was David Larson from Faith Baptist. At 6’4″, he shot 34-44 and put up 70 points in the losing effort.
  • Eric Young and Tyler Betz (look at his stupid bio pic) from Faith Baptist better be running some serious sprints after this game. They combined for 31 turnovers!
  • Some poor bastard had to record the play-by-play on this game. Look at the length of that document!

My biggest question from tonight’s game is this: where do they go from here? Will Taylor top this performance? They’re only three games into the season. Will he jack 130 shots next game? Do you think parents of the other kids on the team enjoyed watching this?

D3, terrible defense, whatever the case may be: 138 points is just absurd. I couldn’t score that against a team of 2nd graders.

Update:

The game film is finally available on Grinnell’s website, so I watched it this morning (yay Thanksgiving break!). Here are some more thoughts:

  • In the two games leading up to this one, Taylor was 5-18 and 6-23 from the field. Next game? 52-108. Come on. After watching the game film, this makes sense. Keep reading.
  • The announcer actually said that Grinnell will look on their schedule for their weaker opponents and do everything they can to run up the score and break records. This is all within the game plan. One tactic the announcer mentioned was called “The Bomb Squad”. If Grinnell’s opponent gets into the double bonus, Grinnell will sub in five freshmen players, foul their opponent immediately once the ball is in play, send them to the line, then sub the freshmen players out to put their scorers back in on offense. This takes almost no time off the clock, giving their starters as many offensive possessions as possible. To win the game? No, not necessarily. To break records.
  • For reasons unknown to me, this game counted as a regular season game for Grinnell, but as an exhibition game for Faith Baptist. The announcer actually mentioned this during the game. Hardly a competitive game even from the start.
  • There’s no question, Jack Taylor can play. Really good ball handler, finishes very well around the rim. He creates all of his own shots. Virtually no screens were set in this game. Taylor brings it up, does a couple crossovers, then either shoots a quick 3 or drives to the bucket. Grinnell’s spacing gave him so many open layups.
  • 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.
  • Every single person in that gym–the players, the announcers, the coaches, the fans–were hell-bent on setting records during this game. The entire flow was completely fixed to feed Jack Taylor the ball on every single possession. The announcer was even counting down the record for most points in a HALF. Who cares about that record? Grinnell does. It was weird.
  • Faith Baptist’s defense was just embarrassing. They were in no way conditioned to run with Grinnell in this style of offense. Run & gun, full court press every single time. It was as if every player was wearing concrete shoes. Sometimes it looked like they just gave up, or decided to help Taylor get this record.
  • Their offense was just as bad. Literally 75% of their 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.
  • The announcer actually made a Wilt Chamberlain reference once Taylor hit 100 points.
  • The game got more and more embarrassing in the later stages. Taylor’s teammates would literally do everything they could do get him the ball every single time. It didn’t matter how wide open of a look they had.

The box score looks a heck of a lot better than the game film. This record is a total sham.

Update 2:

@BustedCoverage has ripped the first few minutes of the game tape where the announcers discuss Grinnell’s game plan and intent on setting records, as well as the closing minutes of the game where Taylor reaches 138 points. Embedded video below: