Numbers, they say, never lie. And truth is stranger than fiction. Where those two maxims converged, we can finally say with certainty, was Nov. 20 in Grinnell, Iowa. Jack Taylor, a 5-10 transfer shooting guard, scored a single-game record 138 points with a line you have to see to even try to bend your mind around: In 36 minutes he was 52-of-108 from the field and 27-of-71 from three-point, throwing in 7-of-10 free throws. And now we have video of some of his record-setting highlights. Joe Johnson, step aside: Grinnell presents the “Iso-Jack” offense.
According to the Associated Press, you wouldn’t have guessed this total was the next performance by Taylor: He’d shot just 11-of-41 over the weekend. Oh well, he came out to break the record of 113 points Bevo Francis scored for Rio Grande in 1954. Grinnell won, by the way, 179-104, over Faith Baptist Bible, whose leading scorer David Larson had 70 points in even more impressive fashion than Taylor: 34-of-44 from the field, without making a single free throw or three-pointer.
Below are a compilation of highlights first, and the final eight points scored by Taylor in the second video (from a videographer who, unfortunately, didn’t think to turn the camera into landscape mode). It’s surreal to see him cap that kind of game in front of a rural gym that’s not even full (Shades of Wilt Chamberlain‘s 100-point game tucked away in Hershey, Pa., anyone?).
I’m not going to light the pitchforks and storm the tiny Iowa city because of Grinnell’s unique take on the game. This is what Grinnell does, leading the country in scoring 17 of the last 19 seasons, a stat found by the AP. Head coach David Arseneault sends in fresh legs every few minutes to keep the attack of shooting the best shot for maximum reward, a quick three, and then scooping up the offensive board for the next easiest shot attempt. Don’t overthink it. It’s fun, it’s unique and the publicity it’s gained over the years (my high school team watched their ESPN broadcast in 2005 en masse) is likely the only reason you can name a specific Division III program.
Who’s the last word on this game, besides Taylor himself? Kobe Bryant is one of the few qualified to lend judgment after his 81-point game in 2002, when he shot 61 percent from the floor and 54 percent from three. What was his reaction? Taylor has the ultimate trump card.
“Would people be celebrating me if I scored 138 points? You know how it is, some people would, some people wouldn’t,” he told ESPNLA.com after beating Brooklyn. “They can all kiss my a– as I’m sure he feels the same way. If you score 138 points, you kind of have a license to tell people to f— off.”
What do you think?
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.