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…