WALLA WALLA, Wash. – What goes around comes around. Eventually.
Fifty-one years after the Whitman College men’s basketball team was torched for 53 points by the legendary Elgin Baylor, Kyle Born has evened the score with the world of basketball.
Born, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, scored 53 points for Whitman Wednesday night as the Missionaries suffered a 153-149 loss at the University of Redlands in a run-and-gun non-conference battle between two NCAA Div. III schools.
Born’s big night puts him on a par with Baylor in terms of most points ever scored in a single game by a player at a Northwest Conference (NWC) school. Baylor was a freshman sensation at the College of Idaho (now Albertson College of Idaho) when he skewered Whitman for 53 points in a 97-73 victory on Feb. 26, 1955, in Caldwell, Idaho.
Baylor, a 6-foot-5 forward, made 23 baskets and seven free throws in his record-setting performance against Whitman. That game capped a perfect 15-0 NWC season for a College of Idaho squad that also included R.C. Owens, who later starred in the NFL as a receiver for the San Francisco 49’ers.
In his game Wednesday, Born made 25 of 29 shots from the floor and was three of seven from the free throw line. He also grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
Born, who played his prep ball at Stanwood (Wash.) High School, now leads the NWC in both scoring (23.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg). He is shooting 61.5 percent from the floor on the season. Despite a series on injuries, Born earned spots on the All-NWC teams in each of the past two seasons.
Whitman’s previous single-game scoring record was 42 points, set by Don Woodworth on December 15, 1967.
After his freshman season at the College of Idaho, Baylor transferred to Seattle University, where he played two more seasons and led the Chieftains to the 1958 NCAA championship game, where they lost to Kentucky. After the NBA’s Minneapolis (now Los Angeles) Lakers drafted him No. 1, Baylor skipped his senior college season and embarked on a 14-year Hall of Fame professional career that included 11 NBA all-star selections.
The College of Idaho left the NWC in 1978. Prior to Wednesday, the record for the most points scored by a player at one of the existing NWC schools was held by Rod McDonald, who scored 51 points for Whitworth College against Redlands during the 1966-67 season.
The NWC, which dates back to 1926, represents nine private colleges and universities. Members in the state of Washington, in addition to Whitman and Whitworth, are the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University. NWC schools in Oregon are Lewis & Clark College, Willamette University, George Fox University, Pacific University, and Linfield College.
Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information, (509) 527-5902