Cal State Stanislaus senior guard Taylor Bell only saw minimal playing time for most of the season. He averaged 4 points, 16 minutes a game for the Warriors, who finished fourth in the tough CCAA.
But the Redlands High School product has come up huge lately for his teammates and coach Larry Reynolds.
Playing close to his home in the NCAA Division II West Regional at Cal State San Bernardino against traditional power Cal Poly Pomona, Bell tossed in a career-high 22 points with five assists in an overtime win. He went 7 of 13 from the field and played 37 minutes, no doubt prospering in place of starting point guard Sam Marcus who struggled.
That came a day after he scored 18 points in 32 minutes in leading the Warriors to an 80-72 quarterfinal win over second-seeded Seattle Pacific, also in overtime.
Coming into the tournament he hadn’t scored in double digits even once this season.
Bell started his collegiate career at Mt. San Jacinto so he had a handful of Foothill Conference games closer to home. But that stage pales in comparison to this one. He has been a key contributor for a team that had never made the postseason before this year and yet is one win away from the Elite Eight.
The Warriors play Chico State on Monday at 7 p.m. in the same venue. Having two out-of-area contenders probably won’t make for a great crowd but the Bell supporters are sure to be out in full force.