Saturday, November 24th, 2012...8:28 am

Raising the record to 138

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On November 20, 2012, Grinnell College played Faith Baptist Bible College in a men’s basketball game that got the NBA’s attention. Why? Grinnell’s freshman guard, Jack Taylor scored an unbelievable 138 points.

Picture credit: http://www.grinnell.edu/news/features/taylor-smashes-record

Soon, NBA stars were talking to reporters and tweeting about the game. LeBron James compared the college player to the likes of Kobe Bryan and Wilt Chamberlain in an interview with ESPN. The tweets that filled cyberspace included:

  • Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant tweeted, “Jack Taylor you deserve a shot of Jack Daniels after that performance lol…wow”
  • Retired forward Donyell Marshall commented, “This is crazy. Hope he iced his arms after game.”
  • Golden State Warriors’ Charles Jenkins wrote, “wouldn’t be surprised if Jack Taylor transfer tomorrow lol .. thats crazy 138 points”
  • Houston Rocket’s Chandler Parsons requested, “Have to see highlights of this kid Jack Taylor putting up 138 points.”
  • Thunder center Cole Aldrich tweeted, “138 points is impressive but I think shooting 108 times (71 3 pointers) is more impressive. #throwemup”

Aldrich’s tweet represents a mathematical answer to Chandler Parson’s wish. To begin, here are a few statistical highlights of the game and particularly Taylor:

  • 58 of Taylor’s 138 points were scored by halftime
  • Taylor set NCAA records for field goals (52), field goal attempts (108), 3-pointers made (27) and 3-pointers attempted (71).
  • Taylor broke Clarence “Bevo” Francis‘ record (set in 1954) of 113 points with 4:42 remaining.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper. How many 3-point attempts did Taylor make? According to AllBall NBA blog shooters attempt 30 3-pointers per round in the All-Star Weekend’s 3-Point Contest. Again, Taylor shot 70. That’s a lot of shots!

In fact, a quick game is a style of play by the Grinnell Fox Squirrels. This is partially seen by noting that Taylor broke the NCAA Division III record of 89 points set by his teammate Griffin Lentsch last season. This is even clearer when one notes that Taylor only played 36 minutes in the game. Take a moment and reflect on that stat! This means Taylor made 52 of his 108 shots in 36 minutes; this equates to 3 shots a minute. Keep in mind 70 of these shots were 3-point attempts. So, Taylor averaged two 3-point attempts per minute.

In order for Taylor alone to shoot 3 times per minute, the other team must have possession of the ball at least 2 times each minute. So, the teams are keeping the ball at most 12 seconds per possession. This seems more plausible when you recall the game was a 179-104 victory for Grinnell over Faith Baptist Bible. Further, the Faith Eagles’ David Larson scored 70 points.

Taylor truly had a stunning performance that Tuesday night; something he could easily give thanks for at that Thursday’s Thanksgiving table. At first, the performance can almost seem impossible. The stats give some insight and are, in themselves, a highlight reel of that evening.



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