Grinnell returns to court, and Taylor scores 21
by Tommy Birch, USA TODAY Sports
GRINNELL, Iowa — Fans lined the stairs, filled the bleachers and watched from windows or wherever else they could at Grinnell College on Sunday to catch Jack Taylor take another shot at NCAA history.
This time, they didn’t catch what they were hoping to see.
Five days after scoring an NCAA-record 138 points in a game, Taylor returned to the court and mustered 21 in Grinnell’s 131-116 loss to William Penn (Iowa) University.
“It brings me back down to Earth,” Taylor said after the game.
Taylor, a sophomore guard for the Pioneers, has been the center of a national frenzy after his record-breaking performance in Grinnell’s third game of the season. He hoisted 108 shots on Nov. 20, including 71 from 3-point range, during a 179-104 win against Faith Baptist Bible College.
His historic performance earned Taylor both praise and criticism. A day after breaking the NCAA all-divisions scoring mark, the Black River Falls, Wis., native, was a guest on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s”The Today Show.”
But his free-shooting evening also made him a lightning-rod topic on the airwaves and on talk shows, where Taylor and Grinnell’s fast-paced, rapid substitution offense was criticized.
Less than a week after the accomplishment, Taylor still was the talk of the town. At least five different media outlets, including ESPN and The Boston Globe, were covering Taylor’s return to the court.
“Mentally, it was tough to focus on this game a little bit more than usual,” Taylor said.
Taylor struggled to get into any sort of rhythm shooting. He missed his first three shots before finishing 6-for-21 from the field, including 3-of-13 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
His first basket — a layup — didn’t come until more than 8 minutes had passed.
“Jack’s emotionally spent right now,” Grinnell coach David Arseneault said. “He’s not used to that kind of media attention.”
Taylor attributed a tough matchup and fatigue from Tuesday’s effort for his slow start.
“This team was a lot better,” Taylor said of William Penn (12-0). “That team’s going to win a lot of games, and they’re going to beat a lot of good teams this year. To play … [For more on Grinnell returns to court, and Taylor scores 21, click here.]