On Tuesday, a player at Division III Grinnell (Iowa) College established an NCAA basketball record by scoring 138 points in a 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College.
The performance by sophomore guard Jack Taylor left a lot of people shaking their heads, me included. In my case, it was in disdain.
There is no scenario I can imagine where allowing one player to score that many points would be an acceptable thing to do.
Yes, Grinnell apparently has adopted the Paul Westhead/Loyola Marymount philosophy of the 1980s, where the intent is to shoot early and often. And the Pioneers like to jack up 3-pointers with reckless abandon.
They also apply relentless, full-court pressure to cause turnovers and get easy baskets.
OK, I understand that. But there comes a time when the coach — in this case, a father-and-son co-coaching duo — ought to show some decorum.
Basketball coaches should impart their knowledge of the game in building a winning program, but they also have a responsibility to teach some lessons about sportsmanship and class.
During the game in question, Grinnell led by 39 points at halftime. At that juncture, Taylor had already poured in 58 points.
OK, so maybe you play the kid five minutes to open the second half, then let some other players get some additional court time.
Instead, the coaches not only left Taylor in the game for an inexplicable 36 minutes, they sat by and allowed him to jack up an incredible 108 field-goal attempts. The rest of the team, combined, took only 28 shots.
Grinnell managed only 22 assists on 68 baskets.
With the game well in hand, what is the point of letting one player shoot as many shots as he wants while continuing to pummel the opponent? What is the conclusion that should be drawn from such a situation?
Ironically, Faith Baptist Bible utilized a similarly twisted methodology in a losing cause. Its leading scorer was David Larson, who connected on 34 of 44 shots — 64 fewer than Taylor — on his way to a 70-point night.
Bottom line, it never should have come to that.
Grinnell’s tactics turned that game — and probably most of their contests — into a wild, undisciplined free-for-all that, by all accounts, was entertaining for those in attendance.
Basketball is a game that should showcase some measure of discipline and teamwork in demonstrating skills and concepts with all contributing to the effort. Running and gunning is great, but when you’re up 39 at halftime, it would be appropriate to rest your starters and either let some of your less talented players compete, or back off and show some sportsmanship.
Nobody should ever be allowed to score 138 points in a game. When it does happen, it should be scrutinized, not celebrated.