Fresno Pacific's John Taylor sets PacWest scoring record in NCCAA Quarterfinal win
WINONA LAKE, Ind. - John Taylor became the first player in Pacific West Conference and Fresno Pacific history to score 50 points in a game, leading the top-seeded Sunbirds past #8 Roberts Wesleyan 113-101 in the first round of the NCCAA Tournament.
The 50 points broke a 44-year FPU school record, a Pacific West Conference record, and was the highest point total this season by any player at the NCAA Division II level.
Taylor was in top-form from the opening tip, scoring 31 points in the first half as FPU built a 59-48 halftime lead. The Sunbirds would need all the scoring they could get however as RWC came out firing in the second half, eventually taking the lead 91-90 with 4:30 left.
Taylor, Malcolm Griffin and the rest of the Sunbirds refused to back down though in the closing minutes, salvaging a win and avoiding what would have been a monumental upset by the 8-20 Redhawks out of Rochester, N.Y.
It was an efficient shooting night for Taylor, who finished 16 for 23 from the field, 14 for 18 from the line and 4 for 8 from three-point range.
Griffin narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Five Sunbirds finished in double figures as Matt Samuels added 14 points, Rickey Vick finished with 12 and Antonio Credit had 10. Trevon Clayton added eight points and eight rebounds.
Mike Stone had 31 points to lead the Redhawks. Tyrel Dixon added 28 and Devin Grimes finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
FPU shot 54 percent from the field, but the difference came at the free-throw line in a game that featured 75 free throw attempts between the two teams. FPU shot 81 percent from the charity stripe while RWC hit just 52 percent.
The Sunbirds have a much tougher task ahead as they take on #5-seed Shorter (GA) at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 14. The Hawks (19-11) defeated #4-seed MidAmerica Christian 101-89 on Wednesday and, like the Sunbirds, are transitioning to NCAA Division II from the NAIA. The team made the NAIA Final Four last season.
The previous FPU school record was 46 points, set by Don Jones vs. Vanguard in 1969. The previous PacWest record of 44 points was set by Academy of Art's William Overton on Dec. 4, 2010, and tied by Taylor earlier this season with 44 points vs. Academy of Art.
In 2012-13, Taylor recorded the PacWest's top eight single-game scoring performances.
The previous high this season by an NCAA Division II player was 47 points by Joe Graessle of Tiffin University.