As 10-year anniversary approaches, Jack Taylor ’15 reflects on his basketball scoring frenzy

November 17, 2022 — The third basketball game of Jack Taylor’s college basketball career at Grinnell was one of the most memorable nights in Grinnell College sports history, but it almost didn’t come to pass because of how the first two games had gone.

Jack Taylor ’15
    Jack Taylor ’15

“I remember going into that game there was a lot of pressure for me to perform well,” Taylor recalls 10 years later. “In those first two games, I had shot a lot of 3s, but I had missed a lot of them. I remember Coach A [Dave Arseneault Sr.] pulled me to the front of the bus on the way home and said, ‘Jack, can you even make some of those shots that you are taking?’”

Arseneault Sr. was willing to give Taylor – a 2015 Grinnell College graduate – another chance to be the focal point of the offense early in a game against Faith Baptist Bible College on Nov. 20, 2012. However, if Taylor didn’t score 20 points in the first 10 minutes, the game plan would be altered. Fortunately, Taylor scored the 20 points within the allotted time, and then of course he kept scoring, and scoring, and scoring. His final tally of 138 points remains the most points ever scored in a college basketball game at any level.

Sunday will mark the 10-year anniversary of the record-breaking game. In some regards, Taylor says it does seem like a decade has passed. He’s now married, with two children, and owns his own business – a video production company in his hometown of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. But a handful of moments from the game itself are still logged in his memory. 

He recalls sitting in the locker room at halftime when a teammate asked him how many points he thought he had. Taylor was never a player who kept track of stats as the game went on, so he guessed 37. 

“Coach A walked in with a grin on his face and a box score in hand,” Taylor recalls. “He said, ‘Jack, you have 58.’ That’s when the whole team got super excited. The locker room got loud, and then it became a real team effort to get me a touch every single time down the floor.”


A 5-10 guard, Taylor scored 1,835 points in three seasons, an average of 30.1 points per game. He made 893 3-point shots and 1,281 baskets overall. But then he mainly stopped playing basketball after graduation. For the next seven years, it wasn’t a big part of his life.

“Part of it was when I came back to play, I was just frustrated. I wasn’t as good as I used it be,” he says. “I didn’t have the training time to put in. This past year was the first time since graduating from Grinnell that I’ve been able to play the game and enjoy it.”

Taylor had initially hoped to play in Grinnell’s basketball alumni game, but he had a conflict that day. During a summer phone conversation with current Grinnell College basketball coach Dave Arseneault Jr. ’09, Taylor pitched another idea. What if he came to Grinnell to participate in an open gym session with the men’s basketball team but did so in disguise. 

On Oct. 4, Taylor showed up in a headband and mask so most of his face was unrecognizable. The captains were clued in on what was going on, but if the rest of the team asked, they were told he was a potential recruit. Taylor looked right at home at Darby Gym, swishing 3-pointers and driving hard to the basket. The Open Gym session was filmed and Taylor produced a video about the experience.   

After about 40 minutes of scrimmaging, Arseneault Sr. called the team over to the bleachers and revealed they were playing with the scoring record holder.

Basketball team members react when Jack Taylor pulls down his mask to reveal his identity
Basketball team members react when Jack Taylor pulls down his mask to reveal his identity. About half the team had figured out it was him but several players were caught off guard.

“Half of the team was super shocked, but the other half had figured it out,” Taylor says. “They knew because of my shot form. They had seen in videos the way I shot, so they had picked up on it. It was fun to surprise the other half of the team though. Coming back as an old guy, I wasn’t even sure if they knew what I did. In the end, I felt supper appreciated.” 

In Black River Falls Taylor has a local video podcast, where he chats with residents who are doing good in the community. The day after the open gym at Grinnell, Taylor filmed a podcast with both Arseneaults about the night of 138 points. 

“I don’t know yet what I want to do with it content wise, but 30 years from now I wanted to be able to look back and see that real, raw conversation about what we remember from that game,” he says. “Nov. 20, 2012, holds a special place in a lot of our hearts in the Grinnell area. It was a lot of fun to reminisce.”

Taylor returned to Wisconsin after graduation and worked as a sales and marketing coordinator for Olmix North America. On the side, he was making videos around the community for fun. 

“I started to feel passionate about it,” he says. “It was a similar passion that I used have for basketball. People started to ask me to make a video for their business, wedding, or event. Naturally, it made sense over time to branch out on my own. I quit my job and started my own video production company. It was the right move. I’m having fun running a business.”

Taylor says there are elements from Grinnell that have been helpful in his business. From basketball he learned about working hard, communicating, leadership, and competition

A disguised Jack Taylor ’15 launches a 3-point shot.
A disguised Jack Taylor ’15 launches a 3-point shot during an Open Gym session with the men’s basketball team on Oct. 4.

“The academic perspective is very similar,” he says. “I was a biochemistry major, so from a textbook perspective I’m using almost none of what I memorized. But some of the soft skills that I developed, such as learning how to learn and reaching out to different resources to solve problems, have come up routinely as a video producer.”

In the ten years since the record-breaking game, only two people have scored over 100 points in a college game, and one of them was Taylor. He recorded 109 points in a 2013 game against Crossroads College. (The other is J.J. Culver who scored 100 for Wayland Baptist University in 2019). 

Does Taylor think the 138-point record will ever be broken?

“This was asked on the video podcast, since Coach A and Coach Dave would probably know better than me,” Taylor says. “Coach A said no. He said he’s going to the grave with the record, and I’m going to the grave with the record. There are players that could do what I did from an offensive perspective. But the way everything came together that night created a perfect storm. Our ridiculousness as a Grinnell program to rally as a team around a record like this and an opponent who was willing to run up and down the court with us contributed to it. Because of that perfect storm, it’s going to be tough to replicate that type of game again.”  

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

The 2022-23 Grinnell College men’s basketball season is underway and will no doubt include a lot of high-scoring games. Keep up with the action on the team’s website.

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