Will Carius etched his name in the Monmouth College record book Wednesday night, pumping in 62 points in a 116-88 win over Grinnell College at Glennie Gym, the Pioneers' first Midwest Conference loss through six games.
"My dad sent me a text before the game telling me I could go for 50 and I honestly thought he was joking," said Carius, whose father Brant played for the Scots in the late '80s and faced the Grinnell System in its early days. "He said afterwards that they played even more fast paced then he remembered. My family was very excited for me. My dad and great aunt were both in attendance and I got texts and calls from about my entire family by the time I went to bed."
While scoring more than half of the Fighting Scots' points, Carius eclipsed the previous program record of 52 points set by Monmouth's all-time scoring leader Lance Castle in a 1995 game against Grinnell.
"(My teammates) just got me in a position to score the ball and make layups," said Carius, who was playing against Grinnell's unique "system" for the first time. "That's all we had to do was get the ball down the floor and make layups. It was wild. I had never played basketball like that before. It was weird on offense and weird on defense."
One of the elements of the Grinnell system is relentless full-court pressure that often creates more than 30 turnovers per game. But if the pressure can be broken, layups are often the result.
"This is obviously my first time seeing him play with him being new to the league," said Grinnell coach David Arsenault Jr. of Carius, a junior transfer from Division I Northern Michigan University. "His explosiveness, his athleticism and his ability to handle the basketball is rare at the Division III level – to get someone that big and that athletic. He is a nightmare for the other team and he was a nightmare for us."
After a 27-point first half on 10-of-11 shooting, Carius's hot hand continued in the second half. He finished the game 24-of-26 from the floor and 14-of-18 night from the foul line.
Carius's only misses from the floor were the Scots' two three-point attempts in the game. Inside the arc, the Scots shot 43-of-54, outscoring Grinnell 84-38 in the paint.
Carius also cleaned the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds – 17 on the defensive end – as the Scots held a 42-26 advantage on the boards.
"Will did a great job on both ends of the floor," said Monmouth coach Todd Skrivseth who has a seven-game win streak going against the System. "He was on the floor for all but two minutes. That's burning a lot of energy in a game of that pace, but he was still able to be extremely efficient with his shots and that's really remarkable. His teammates got him the ball in position, but he still had to convert and oftentimes against a very hard defense."
Nursing a 57-44 lead at the half, the Scots took the Pioneers' staple 3-pointer away, holding Grinnell to just 12-of-47 shooting from 3-point range as the Pioneers posted their lowest point total of the season.
The Pioneers briefly cut their deficit to single digits in the second half when three consecutive 3-pointers pulled them within 77-70 with 11:32 left. The Scots responded with an 18-2 run over the next five minutes to open a 95-72 lead and maintained a 20-point advantage over the remainder of the game. Carius's record-breaking points came on a layup with 4:55 left in the game to give Monmouth a 99-76 lead.
Point guard D.J. Swift chipped in 22 points and eight assists for the Scots, who will continue Midwest Conference play Saturday at Lawrence University. Tipoff in Wisconsin is set for 3 p.m.