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Original Issue

Jeff Clement Grinnell's gunner set a Division III record with 77 points in a game

Last Friday night Jeff Clement and his Grinnell (Iowa) College
teammates piled into a hotel room in Appleton, Wis., and watched
the video for the first time. Two nights earlier Clement, a
5'10" junior guard, had launched a one-man assault on the NCAA
record book by scoring 77 points (a Division III mark) and
sinking 19 three-pointers (a record for all divisions) in a
149-144 win over Illinois College. Now, as his exploits played
on the screen before him--25-foot threes, three-men-in-his-face
threes, fadeaway threes--Clement was asked which record was more
important. "The points," he said emphatically. "I may not break
77 points, but I think I can break 19 threes. I want 20." At
that, howls of laughter filled the room, and center Craig Alpha
said, "You're getting greedy, aren't you?"

Exactly. Greediness is the whole point at Grinnell, where coach
Dave Arseneault's hyperkinetic offense averaged 110.1 points a
game (Scorecard, Dec. 15, 1997). When Grinnell fell out of
contention in the Midwest Conference race two weeks ago, the
Barnumesque Arseneault set three season-ending goals for the
Pioneers: Break the Division III record of 11 players from the
same team making at least one three-pointer in a game, become
the first team in the division to score 100 points in a half and
make sure that Clement won the scoring title.

Clement grew up on a farm just outside Grinnell. He used a stick
to carve a three-point line in the patch of dirt that served as
his basketball court. Still, after he averaged 13.5 points a
game at Grinnell High, he needed time to adapt to Arseneault's
scheme. "When I was a freshman, Coach said all he wanted from me
was 15 three-point shots a game, and they all didn't have to go
in," Clement says. "That loosened me up. Now I know I have to
take those shots because that's my job."

Clement helped Grinnell meet its first goal on Feb. 14, when he
was one of 13 Pioneers to hit a three-pointer against Monmouth
(Ill.) College. Then, with Clement holding a 10th of a point
lead in the Division III scoring race, with a 30.9 average,
Arseneault cranked up the pressure. Against Illinois he forbade
Clement to cross the half-court line on defense and kept him in
the game for the full 40 minutes, almost twice as long as anyone
normally plays at Grinnell.

Granted, Clement also set a more dubious NCAA all-divisions
record, for three-point misses in a game, with 33 clangs in 52
attempts. "It's not like I was hot," he admits.

In their final game of the season, last Saturday against
Lawrence College, Clement and Grinnell had one last chance to
add to the record book, and they weren't lacking incentive. If
the Pioneers scored 100 in a half, Arseneault would have dyed
his hair the color of his players' choice. Alas, Lawrence had
other ideas, defeating Grinnell 127-116 and leaving the Pioneers
with a 10-12 record for the season. Clement, the Division III
scoring leader, had an off day: 55 points and only 16
three-pointers. --Grant Wahl

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG [Jeff Clement with rack of basketballs]