For the second straight season, 58 is the magic number in the NBA Development League.
Last year, sensational guard Pierre Jackson broke the league’s single-game scoring record with 58 to surpass the previous mark of 53 held by Morris Almond and Will Conroy.
On Saturday, Reno Bighorns guard Dar Tucker matched that number, dropping 58 against the Texas Legends in a 161-127 shootout.
Here’s what you need to know about the record and its new co-holder:
The record books have been re-written often over the past two seasons.
Three of the top five single-game scoring efforts in league history have been set or tied in the last two seasons, including three in a two-week span last February.
|NBA D-League Single-Game Scoring Leaders|
|58||Pierre Jackson||Idaho Stampede||Feb. 14, 2014|
|Dar Tucker||Reno Bighorns||March 28, 2015|
|56||Manny Harris||Los Angeles D-Fenders||Feb. 8, 2015|
|53||Morris Almond||Utah Flash||Jan. 30, 2008|
|Will Conroy||Albuquerque Thunderbirds||April 8, 2009|
|52||Osiris Eldridge||Bakersfield Jam||Dec. 11, 2011|
|Kenny Hayes||Maine Red Claws||March 4, 2012|
|51||Morris Almond||Utah Flash||Dec. 21, 2007|
|Clay Tucker||Arkansas RimRockers||March 3, 2007|
|Kevin Murphy||Idaho Stampede||Feb. 1, 2014|
Jackson, who’s been sidelined all season after tearing his Achilles at Summer League, joked about reclaiming his spot at the top:
— Pierre Jackson (@PAPPYGAWD) March 29, 2015
Tucker is taking his explosiveness to a new level.
Huge scoring totals are nothing new to Tucker, a four-year NBA D-League veteran who averaged 18.5 points per game as a sophomore at DePaul. He won the league’s Most Improved Player award in 2011 and back-to-back Slam Dunk Contests in 2011.
The knock on Tucker has always been his jumper, but he’s returned from a stint in France firing with confidence from distance: After hitting 11-of-22 from beyond the arc on Saturday, he’s shooting 27-of-60 (45%) from three-point range in six games — more threes than he made in his entire 46-game rookie season five years ago (23).
Tucker’s outburst is another victory for “The System.”
Saturday’s historic game featured a whopping 119 possessions, which is nothing new for the Reno Bighorns. Since bringing head coach David Arseneault Jr. over from Grinnell College — the Division-III school that made headlines with Jack Taylor’s NCAA-record 138-point game in 2012 — the Bighorns have pushed the pace into overdrive, leading the league with averages of 116.5 possessions per 48 minutes and 46.9 three-point attempts per game.
In Reno, “The System” developed by Aresenault Jr.’s father at Grinnell has produced: the single-game individual and team three-point records (13 by Brady Heslip; 31 by the Bighorns on Jan. 31), the highest scoring games in league history (175-152 vs. L.A. on Dec. 20; 174-169 vs. L.A. on Jan. 3) and David Stockton’s ridiculous month of March (30.1 points, 12.1 assists, 2.5 steals, 3.7 threes over 10 games).
“It’s kind of just like our team but 20 times better,” Taylor said earlier this season. “We call it ‘The System on Steroids.'”