By now, you’ve probably heard that Jack Taylor of Div. III Grinnell (Iowa) College scored 138 points in a game on Tuesday night.
Yes, 138 points in a single game. By a single player.
It’s jaw-dropping, attention-grabbing and truly hard to fathom.
It’s embarrassing, too.
There was no need for Taylor to keep shooting — he shot 71 3-pointers and had zero assists — with the game out of hand, the official scorekeeper needing both a new page in the book and a new pencil, and the opponent (Faith Baptist Bible) apparently powerless to keep Taylor from shooting it from beyond the arc on nearly every possession.
“In retrospect, maybe we should have done something different,” Brian Fincham, Faith Baptist Bible head coach, told FOX Sports Wisconsin on Wednesday. “But I’m not really disappointed in what we tried to do. I had my guys try to defend to the best of their ability. It ended up he got hot and scored a lot of points.”
Hope you’re proud of yourself, David Arsenault. The Grinnell head coach kept his standard full-court pressure on and not just kept Taylor in the game, but kept giving him the green light. He got his player and his program a full 15 minutes of fame, and all he had to do was shame his opponent and defy all the unwritten rules of basketball tact and decency in the process.
Even stopping after Taylor passed the 100-point mark would have been a nod to some semblance of sportsmanship or even an ounce of humility. The final score was 179-104.
Taylor is a kid, so it’s a little harder to take him to task. But shouldn’t he have felt a little strange about his one-man showing continuing long after the point of anyone on the other team caring?
If the Grinnell Pioneers, Jack Taylor and David Arsenault are that good, let’s have them play Indiana.
This isn’t Grinnell’s first time landing on the national radar. Arsenault’s team play games with crazy scores all the time, a product of a fast-tempo, full-court pressure, mass substitutions and a massive amount of 3-point shots. Taylor shot 71 of them himself, and that’s just ridiculous.
It’s a system that probably sells itself in the non-scholarship world of Div. III athletics. Considering Arsenault has been the coach for 24 years and once had a team lead the nation in scoring at 126.2 points per game, it’s a system that probably works.
The theory of what goes around comes around generally works, too.
Arsenault crossed the line — every line — Tuesday night in letting one player go for 138. His administration should be embarrassed. His players’ parents should be embarrassed. Even his players themselves should know that there’s something really wrong with turning a Div. III basketball game into a spectacle.
College sports are about the kids and life lessons, right?
Taylor being allowed to shoot 108 times is bad for Div. III basketball and basketball in general. Faith Baptist competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association. Its players go to school, go to practice and compete just like Grinnell’s players and just like Kentucky’s players or Ohio State’s players do. Nobody deserves what Grinnell chose to do and Grinnell’s coaches allowed to continue on Tuesday night.
Taylor’s final stat line was 52 of 108 from the field, 27 of 71 on 3-point tries, and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Taking 108 shots in a 40-minute game works out to a shot every 20 seconds or so. Considering Grinnell usually goes with mass substitutions every 45 seconds or so to keep its players fresh, the actual shot-per-minute ratio was one that would make Michael Jordan blush.
There is no “that’s how they play” argument, because the game was clearly decided before halftime, when the score was 85-46. This was about ego and attention and rubbing someone’s nose in it, all in a game played between two small Iowa colleges on a Tuesday night.
Winning by 75 and running up one player’s score is not “how they play.” That’s not how anybody plays. There’s nothing right or redeeming about it.
David Arsenault, enjoy the attention. Hopefully, you’ll someday realize it wasn’t worth it.