How Rare Is It For Two Teammates To Both Score 25 Against An Elite Opponent?

posted in NCAA Basketball

The game of the week was supposed to have taken place last night, with previously-undefeated #3-ranked Baylor visiting #7 Kansas. Unfortunately for everyone not bleeding crimson and blue, the Jayhawks took a 10-point lead at halftime, and coasted to an 18 point victory.

Leading the way for Kansas were their two stars; Tyshawn Taylor finished with 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and Thomas Robinson powered his hay to 27 points and 14 rebounds.

That got us wondering — when was the last time two teammates both scored 25 points in leading their school to a win in such a big game, against such a tough opponent?

25 Point Pairs Are More Common Than You Might Think

Two players on the same team scoring 25 points happens fairly often. In fact, just last night, Seattle’s Aaron Broussard scored 34 while his teammate Sterling Carter notched 26 in leading the Redhawks to a win over Eastern Washington. That was the 22nd example this season.

But Taylor and Robinson accomplished the feat against a Baylor team that hadn’t lost a game all year. And this wasn’t some early December 6-0 record; the Bears had made it all the way to 16-0. [You might read 17-0 other places, but we count only games against Division I opponents here.]

Not only that, but Scott Drew’s troops knew that this was one of the key games of the year, and a building block towards the Big 12 title, so the scoring outburst shouldn’t have been the result of Baylor looking past the game or underestimating their opponent. This was two players coming up huge in a marquee matchup.

To find similar elite performances, we dug into our database.

But Doing It Against Elite Competition Is Rare

Defining a “big game” is a bit subjective, but we settled on any game in conference play or the NCAA tournament where both schools entered with a winning percentage of 75% or better, and where the losing team was from a BCS conference. That knocks out early season tilts involving teams that are something like 3-1, and ensures that beating up on small conference winners in the first round of the NCAA tournament won’t get you on the list.

With that definition in mind, here are all the matching games from the 2006-07 season through today (all records against Div I teams only):

DateTeamOpponentPlayer 1PtsPlayer 2Pts
Jan 16, 2012Kansas (14-3)Baylor (16-0)Tyshawn Taylor28Thomas Robinson27
Mar 15, 2009Duke (27-6)Florida St (25-8)Jon Scheyer29Gerald Henderson27
Feb 23, 2009Kansas (22-5)Oklahoma (25-2)Sherron Collins26Tyshawn Taylor26
Feb 22, 2009Duke (21-5)Wake Forest (20-4)Gerald Henderson35Jon Scheyer30
Apr 5, 2008Memphis (37-1)UCLA (34-3)Chris Douglas-Roberts28Derrick Rose25
Mar 28, 2008Memphis (35-1)Michigan St (27-8)Derrick Rose27Chris Douglas-Roberts25
Feb 10, 2008North Carolina (21-2)Clemson (16-5)Tyler Hansbrough*39Wayne Ellington*28
Jan 26, 2008Notre Dame (13-4)Villanova (13-4)Kyle McAlarney30Luke Harangody25
Jan 16, 2007Oklahoma St (14-2)Texas (13-3)Mario Boggan*37JamesOn Curry*28

*As helpfully pointed out by commenter phogblog, the UNC-Clemson and Oklahoma State-Texas games above went to overtime, so those players get an asterisk.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a show like Taylor and Robinson put on last night — almost three years since Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson took it to Florida State in the ACC tournament championship game. It was the second time in under a month that the duo had accomplished the task.

This is actually the second time that Tyshawn Taylor has teamed up with a fellow 25-point scorer. He and Sherron Collins both topped the mark in a game against Oklahoma in the 2008-09 season.

Perhaps the most impressive listings here are the pair of Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts games. Both came in the 2008 NCAA tournament, on Memphis’s road to their near-title. The contest against UCLA was in the Final Four, against one of the best defenses in the entire country, according to defensive efficiency.

Will Taylor and Robinson join Scheyer/Henderson and Rose/CDR by simultaneously hitting the 25-point mark against elite competition another time this season? There’s no way to know for sure, but given the potential of the two, and how little depth Kansas has this season, it’s definitely not out of question.

  • Phogblog

    Wasn’t that OSU / UT game a double or triple overtime game?  Just checked it out – Boggans and Curry had 106 minutes of PT between them!

  • David Hess

    Nice catch. I just checked the others on the list, and that UNC-Clemson game went to OT as well.

  • Mezzy55

    Very interestimg David…….How about checking out how far teams progress in the NCAA tournament when the starting five have no major scoring stars.  It seems to me that when a teams five starters each average between 9 and 15 points per game , they are always playing near the end of the tournament.  A balanced attack is harder to defend.  Am I right or wrong.  You tell me…….after all,  you guys are the real experts.  Thanks

  • David Hess


  • David Hess

    Mezzy — That’s an interesting topic. I’ll add it to my list of research ideas, and maybe get a blog post up about it in the near future, if I find anything interesting.

  • Ruffryder1221

    I would like to agree with you Mezzy55 because I always feel better about teams with more balance, except that Kansas consistently has one of the most balanced scoring teams in the nation, and they still manage to blow it in the tournament. And its not too uncommon for a team to ride one or two great players deep into the tournament. I haven’t done any research on it, but I can think of a few off the top of my head. Uconn with Kemba Walker and Arizona with Derrick Williams did it just last year. But I would still take a balanced scoring attack any day. What if Kansas loses Taylor or Robinson to injury or foul trouble. Johnson, Releford, and Withey are all capable of picking up the slack, but you wouldn’t want to count on it against a good defense

  • dakota loomis

    I know. I mean, KU hasn’t won a national championship for over three years!!!!