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South Dakota State's Nate Wolters scored a Division I-best 53 points on Thursday night. / Eric Draper, AP

Nate Wolters' text message from his father, Roger, helped sum up one the best performances in college basketball this season.

"Good grief!" his father, Roger, wrote him after South Dakota State's 80-74 win over IPFW on Thursday night in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Wolters scored a Division I-best 53 points and connected on a school-record nine three-pointers. The 6-4 guard went 9 for 14 from beyond the arc, 17 for 28 overall and 10 for 11 at the free-throw line.

"I didn't realize how many I had until after the game, it's tough to explain. I was definitely feeling it," Wolters said by phone late Thursday night. "The scoring came in such a barrage at the end. When I heard it was 53, I was like 'whoa.' "

Wolters, who's gained national interest as one of the top points guards in the country in the past two seasons, called it a "team win" but it was his sluggish teammates who watched him fall into a zone that hasn't been seen in the NCAA's top level since 2009.

No Division I player has scored more than 50 points this season. There was of course a 138-point performance in Division III by Grinnell College marksman Jack Taylor. When asked if he was in a Jack Taylor-like zone, Wolters was humble.

"He's probably a lot better shooter than me," Wolters said. "I remember seeing it and being like, 'that can't be right.' Now I know when you're scoring like that, you're kind of unconscious."

So who'd win in a game of horse between D-III's scoring sensation and D-I's best scorer this season?

"I have no clue, but if he wanted to play, I'd be game," Wolters said, chuckling.

Unlike Taylor's epic scoring outburst that featured little defense and Grinnell leading for most of the game, South Dakota State (19-6, 10-2 Summit League) needed all of those 53 points to overcome an 11-point deficit and pull off the victory. The Jackrabbits didn't take their first lead until the 1:47-minute mark of the second half.

"What happened tonight is the result of a lot of time in the gym for Nate, and sometimes kids get in a zone, they feel it, and it doesn't matter what they do, you can't stop them," South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy said after the game. "That was the case tonight, and Nate knew it, the players knew it, I knew it."

Wolters said he felt the need to put the team on his back at halftime. He "got into a rhythm" to catch fire in the second half when he scored 38 of his school-record 53 points. It matched his previous career-high of 36 points and even his high school career-high of 38 points.

"It was by far my best individual performance. It's really cool for the program," he said. "But the highlight of my basketball career is still playing in the NCAA tournament last year. That's what it's all about. You dream about playing in the Big Dance, not scoring 53."

How did Wolters score 53? IPFW was "sagging off" on pick and rolls, the senior guard said.

"I'm normally not that good of a shooter, I like to drive to the hole a lot more," Wolters said. "But my shots were falling and we needed the scoring. We're usually a balanced (offensive) team. It's not like it was a blowout and I was trying to rack up points."

Wolters said he plans to talk to his dad and other family members today to rehash his "good grief" performance. He estimated receiving around 50 congratulatory text messages, including some funny jabs.

"Terrible game dude ;)" one text message read. Wolters, always trying to find ways to get better, jokingly agreed.

"I said, 'I know, right? I only had three assists' That's low for me."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Nate Wolters scores D-I best 53 points, challenges 138-point scorer Jack Taylor

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