Game #9-504: Indiana State Sycamores vs. Evansville AcesMarch 8, 2013 3:35 pm
St. Louis, MO
Troy Taylor is six feet tall. "But probably not even that," the Evansville fan behind press row says to me. "He's about 5-11 and a half."
He is a foot shorter than his rebounding average. Think about that for a second. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and call him 6'0''. He averages 7.0 rebounds per game (see what I did there?). Seven rebounds
. Per game. That's fifth-best in the Missouri Valley Conference. And the guy is a point guard. Judging solely by the statistics, it makes no logical sense on any level.
Then you watch Troy Taylor play. Boy, can he play. First of all, he's built like a rock. He might not be very tall, but he's clearly no stranger to the weight room. He can also jump so high I'm pretty sure he's using a secret trampoline. He's tenacious after the ball when he crashes the boards, and he's always cleaning the glass on the defensive end.
Somehow, he has enough energy to run the point on offense. But that's not why he's unique. I believe he is the best rebounder in the league, and I don't mean that as "pound-for-pound" or "considering-his-size." He is flat-out the best rebounder in the Missouri Valley.
He did it again against Indiana State in this quarterfinal. He rebounded right at his average, and he kept Evansville right in the game. Then, he stepped to the free throw line with the game tied in the final minute. He missed both. My heart broke for him. Indiana State made a free throw at the other end, and then the Purple Aces got screwed on a no-call on a miracle attempt at the buzzer. Troy Taylor's career shouldn't have ended like that.
The guy will carve out a nice pro career for himself overseas, if that's what he chooses to do. Most people outside of Evansville won't remember Troy Taylor, but I will. Kudos to him on defying all logic with his rebounding totals.
INDIANA STATE 51, EVANSVILLE 50
INDIANA STATE 18-13 (9-9) -- J. Odum 2-8 0-1 5; R. Mahurin 3-6 2-5 10; J. Gant 3-8 1-2 7; D. Cummings 0-3 2-2 2; D. Brown 4-7 2-2 11; M. Arop 1-6 2-2 4; L. Eitel 1-3 0-0 3; J. Kitchell 4-4 1-2 9; K. Smith 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-47 10-16 51.
EVANSVILLE 18-14 (10-8) -- C. Ryan 4-18 0-0 8; T. Taylor 4-7 1-3 9; N. Cox 2-7 0-0 5; A. Wing 0-3 1-2 1; E. Mockevicius 4-5 3-3 11; D. Balentine 4-8 0-0 10; L. Jones 2-7 2-2 6; R. Sawvell 0-0 0-0 0; J. Moore 0-1 0-0 0; J. Nelson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 7-10 50.
Three-point goals: INST 5-16 (L. Eitel 1-3; J. Odum 1-2; R. Mahurin 2-5; M. Arop 0-2; D. Brown 1-2; D. Cummings 0-2), EVAN 3-11 (L. Jones 0-2; C. Ryan 0-3; N. Cox 1-3; D. Balentine 2-3); Rebounds: INST 31 (D. Brown 6), EVAN 30 (T. Taylor 10); Assists: INST 10 (J. Odum 4), EVAN 6 (N. Cox 2); Total Fouls -- INST 12, EVAN 14; Fouled Out: INST-None; EVAN-E. Mockevicius.