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.


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:

    • Rob
    • November 21st, 2012

    This is nothing unusual for Grinnell. Sports illustrated and espn have both run stories on them in the past. They run a Hockey on the Hardwood” style with full court press for the whole game and a full five person sub every 30 seconds. They often score well over 120. We try to go watch the once a year just for the entertainment value. Going on Sunday to watch them play William penn. guess I picked the wrong one.

  1. The Knicks who played against Wilt Chamberlain the night he scored 100 have always complained that that particular game stopped being a genuine contest between two teams in the third quarter and instead became a “let’s-see-how-many-points-Wilt-can-score-tonight” exhibition. I sense something of the sort happened last night.

    • Chris
    • November 21st, 2012

    I think my favorite part is the announcer chanting “Jack, Jack, Jack” at the end. What a farce.

    • Josh Benjamin
    • November 21st, 2012

    This was really weird. It didn’t even look like a real basketball game. No defense on Grinnell’s part; get the ball to this guy and let him drain buckets. It’s still insanely impressive that he scored that much, but yeah, this is definitely suspect.

    • Robby
    • November 21st, 2012

    It’s not suspect. This is the way Grinnell plays. Last year, they chose Griffin Lentsch (89 points) as they player to whom they would constantly feed the ball in an attempt to break a record. Even if Taylor weren’t the one shooting the ball every possession, Grinnell would still shoot upwards of 70 threes and give up layups in an attempt to get the ball back to shoot more threes. That’s “The System,” and for what Grinnell wants to do, it undeniably works. It’s impossible not to play into what Grinnell wants you to do. Faith Baptist’s offense wasn’t bad, they took what Grinnell gave them. You’re not going to turn down a wide-open layup to run more time off the clock.

    I’ll give Taylor all the credit he deserves. 138 points is absurd on all levels. And please, please do not tell me that division three isn’t real basketball. Walk into a gym against the best D3s in the country and tell me those guys aren’t great basketball players. The arguments I’ve heard against this are just ignorant.

      • pss
      • November 21st, 2012

      As Deadspin noted, you can walk into any YMCA in America and find 5 guys who’re probably better than the Bible college these guys were playing – there’s no WAY I’d have left this guy alone at mid-court either on transitions, I’d have stuck to him like glue if I had been their coach before I’d let some hack coach determined to get himself some free publicity impose a disgraceful sham like this on my players..

    • I understand their system. My high school has taken a page out of Grinnell’s book and now runs their system. Run and gun is very different from blatantly attempting to break records. That’s not basketball. If the kid was on fire, then fine. Let him keep shooting. But this was just force-feeding a decent shooter into the record books. The only time he got hot was the last 5 or so threes he made.

      He’s good. Not doubting that. But this whole game was Bob Sura all over again, missing shots on purpose to pad his stats into a triple-double. Asterisk game.

    • Tom Bowen
    • November 21st, 2012

    My favorite part of the video is the “announcer”. Was that Doogie Howser? And Vinnie Del Pino doing color?

    • Mike Kearney
    • November 21st, 2012

    Geez, guys, it’s just DIII basketball. None of these guys are on scholarship. Coach Arsenault has come up with a system that is entertaining and fun to play. My daughter plays the women’s version at NAIA Olivet Nazarene – they led all of women’s college basketball in scoring last year at almost 104 points a game. Went undefeated in conference play and 27-5 overall. They AVERAGED forcing 36 turnovers a game while committing almost 20 per game themselves. But the turnover margin is +16 in their favor. While I don’t want to debate the merits of the record Taylor set, the system works. It’s all about increasing possessions and forcing the other team to play a frenetic pace of basketball that they’re not comfortable with. Nobody complains about Oregon’s up tempo style of play in football.

    • Again, my point isn’t bashing the style of play. Their fast-paced style has clearly worked well for their program. What I AM bashing is the fact that the players and coaches went into the game hellbent on setting records. Grinnell actually chewed more time off the clock on several possessions by passing up easy put-backs and forcing the ball to Taylor. It was a clear effort to get on SportsCenter, and to their credit, it worked. As you can see from my original post, I was salivating over the box score. I love seeing crazy numbers. But after watching the film, I felt gypped. It’s a completely hollow record. It didn’t happen within the natural flow of the game, like all amazing performances do. He was never really “on fire”. It was forced, and it is disappointing to see.

    • Guilty Bystander
    • November 21st, 2012

    So Taylor breaks the scoring record, Grinnell gets on SportsCenter and the Pioneers win their game. How very awful! Was Taylor supposed to purposely miss so people who seem to be taking this so personally will feel better?

    This is what Grinnell does, and they’ve won five conference titles while making ten trips to the DIII tournament since Arseneault took over after they’d never came within four games of a .500 record for at least 19 consecutive seasons before he started coaching them. Safe to say they never had much national attention during those glorious 5-17 seasons pre-Arseneault, either. In other words, it works for them.

    Let others be “offended” by a team that runs-runs-runs while winning most of its games and leading all levels of the NCAA in scoring 16 of 18 years. I’d rather buy a ticket to watch this than John Wooden’s boring-ass stall at UCLA or Dean Smith’s yawn-inducing four-corner “offense” at UNC any day of the week (and twice on Sunday).

    We’re not talking life and death (we get plenty of that in the Middle East), it’s just a basketball game. Get over yourselves, people…there are much bigger things to be pissed off about than this.

  2. This single game has ruined basketball for me forever. I will never again watch another game, be it high school, college, or pro, or even a pick up game at the Y, for as long as I live. I’m going to go to my bedroom and cry for a week. Don’t call me for dinner. All you people who like to look at and keep amazing statistical records caused this. I hate you all.

    Seriously kids, this was a play at some records, and regardless of whether the other team totally laid down and just sat on the bench (which they didn’t), it’s an impressive statistical performance. Real basketball? No. But who the f— cares about DIII ball anyway? Most people go to minor league hockey games to see the fights, not the amazing puck control. It’s is the last fun these kids are going to have before NEVER even being considered by the NBA or even European leagues. Let them create a spectacle.

    • 4elements
    • November 22nd, 2012

    I’ll tell you this, he woukdnt score 138pts on me without leaving with a busted nose from an “accidental” elbow to the nose from a miss block shot. Bible college was in on it, you can’t tell me that the players and the coaches are that stupid. Even my son who plays 6th grade AAU asked where was the defense, why wasn’t he doubled up or something. Yeah he can shoot, but so can my 11yo son (which by the way has a national 3pt title under his belt, one more title than Grinnell). I guess I’m more upset with bible college than Grinnell.

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    • August 1st, 2013

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