Andrew Fitzgerald scored the Ehime Orange Vikings’ first two points on an outside jumper on Sunday, and never stopped scoring.
He had a career-high 55 points and pulled down 22 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes in Ehime’s bounce-back, 101-95 victory over the Fukushima Firebonds in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. Fitzgerald broke the B. League second-division scoring record, eclipsing former Ehime forward Chehales Tapscott’s 50-point performance against the Aomori Wat’s on April 20, 2018. (Ryan Rossiter of the Tochigi Brex set the first-division scoring record on Dec. 8, pouring in 52 points against the Ryukyu Golden Kings.)
Yes, 50-20 games are remarkably rare. (Similarly, 50-30 games were the domain of all-time NBA great Wilt Chamberlain. The website basketball-reference.com lists nine occasions when it’s happened, all occurring in the 1960s by the one and only Wilt.)
And the totality of Fitzgerald’s imprint on Sunday’s game was special. He canned 23 of 38 shots from the field, with one 3-point attempt (a miss) in the box score. He also made 9 of 13 free throws.
Of his 22 rebounds, nine were snatched off the offensive glass. His efficiency rating of 62 was off the charts.
After one quarter, the University of Oklahoma product had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting. By halftime, he had already scored 23, and the Orange Vikings trailed by one, 45-44.
In the third quarter, the 203-cm veteran added 12 more points. The score was tied 65-65 entering the fourth quarter.
And then Fitzgerald took over, putting 20 more points on the board.
So how special was Sunday’s game for him as a team leader?
“It was special because it was a solid team win for to us to build around,” Fitzgerald told Hoop Scoop on Monday. “I was not focusing on my numbers. I was just focusing on helping my team get a win.”