Move over Jodie Meeks. Make room Stephen Curry. Ben Woodside, you have company.
Ryan Toolson officially joined the high-scorers club. The Utah Valley senior scored 63 points in a four-overtime win Thursday against Chicago State.
Yes, 63. Sure, he played 60 minutes, but … wow. Considering only 20 other D-I players have scored more than 60 points in a game, that's damn impressive.
The last guy who scored at least 63 was Bradley's Hersey Hawkins in 1988. The last time two different players scored at least 60 in the same season? 1977. Who knew a couple of small-school guards would be the guys making history? (Oddly enough, their teams played each other last week. Toolson had 27, while Woodside scored 26; his Bison won.)
Even better? Toolson's performance was clutch.
He hit the winning basket – points 62 and 63 – with 2.3 seconds remaining in the 4th overtime to seal the 123-121 win. Same for the second quarter, when the Wolverines fell behind by 10 points. Toolson scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds to tighten things up, and carried the load the rest of the way. (Not an easy thing, either. Chicago State had two 40-point scorers of its own.)
"This was a wonderful game," coach Dick Hunsaker told the Deseret News. "I'm so happy for our players. I feel bad for Chicago State, and it's a shame both teams couldn't have won tonight. Ryan Toolson was incredible. It's a thrill and an honor to be a part of this game."
I guess we shouldn't be too surprised by Toolson. He's already turned in a 41-point performance this season and his uncle is Danny Ainge, a BYU hoops legend, former NBA star and President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics.
Also, Toolson's making a run at some NCAA history. He's among the best free-throw shooters to ever play.
Toolson's career free-throw percentage is just over 94 percent, which puts him in reach of Missouri State's Blake Ahern, who made 94.6 percent of his free throws. That's well ahead of the next best in Gonzaga's Derek Ravio (92.7), Villanova's Gary Buchanan (91.3) and Duke's J.J. Redick (91.2).
The catch in all of this is that Utah Valley isn't an official NCAA member yet. That starts next season. So even if Toolson passes Ahern, it won't be an official record.
It's much like NJIT's recent 51-game losing streak. The Highlanders are in the process of becoming a D-I team, which makes their streak an unofficial record. (Another odd note: Toolson gets to play NJIT twice in the next month.)
Regardless of Utah Valley's official standing, 63 points is 63 points. That's nice night, no matter who you are.