Will “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s NCAA Scoring Record Be Broken?

Antoine Davis needs just four points to set an all-time college basketball career points mark. For him to have a chance, it might cost his school $50,000.

Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy University drives against an opponent on the court
Antoine Davis is his generation's best scorer, but he wants to be the greatest of all time.
Mitchell Layton / Stringer, Getty Images

“Pistol” Pete Maravich’s NCAA career scoring record was set around the time Curt Flood protested MLB’s reserve clause and declared himself a free agent. That year, 1970, the AFL also proved it really could compete with the NFL when the Kansas City Chiefs decisively won Super Bowl IV. Well, MLB free agency will soon crown its first $50 million-a-year player, and we’ve enjoyed 53 Super Bowls since the AFL/NFL merger was prompted by that Chiefs victory. However, Pistol Pete’s achievement continues to withstand the test of time — for at least one more day.

Last night, Antoine Davis, a guard for the Detroit Mercy Titans, a Division I team in the Horizon Conference, scored 22 points. He needed just four more to pass Pistol Pete.

Davis (brutally) missed his last seven shot attempts. His team did not score a field goal in the last 4:19 of the game. They lost in their conference tournament’s championship and finished the season with a 14-19 record, which likely won’t be good enough to qualify for the NCAA “March Madness” Tournament. 

But there might be one more game to play. 

“I would love to play in the CBI, NIT, something,” Davis said last night, per USA Today. “Not even for the record, just to go out on a better note.”

Detroit Mercy, unfortunately, appears to be a long shot for those less-prestigious tournaments, too. Last year, the National Invitation Tournament welcomed Vanderbilt and their 17-16 record, which was the worst of any team that scored an invite — though Vandy went on to win a couple games and make it to the quarterfinals, losing in overtime to Xavier. Over in the College Basketball Invitational, founded just 16 years ago by a marketing agency in New Jersey, Rice was the only squad to make that tournament with a losing record. They finished just one game under .500 at 16-17. 

If the CBI does invite the Titans, there will also be a matter of a $50,000 entry fee for the Detroit Mercy school. However, the university might consider that chump change, especially when there’s an opportunity to place one of its own atop the all-time NCAA scoring list. The school’s endowment is reportedly around $94 million. (Mercy…)

While it would be nice to see Davis eclipse Maravich, even in a made-up tournament that his school would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to enter, it’s worth noting that Davis is a fifth-year senior. Pistol scored his 3,667 points at LSU in just three seasons, at a ridiculous 44.2-points-per-game pace. Oh, there was also no three-point line back then, or a shot clock to maximize his opportunities.

Still, Davis is this year’s leading NCAA scorer at 28.4 points per game. Maravich’s son, Jaeson, told ESPN that his father, who’s deceased, would have celebrated Davis’s new record. 

“To me, it’s an apples and oranges comparison,” Jaeson Maravich said. “I look at it as two completely different records. It’s really so hard to compare because it’s so different. [My father’s] freshman year didn’t even count because freshmen couldn’t play varsity. I just look at what he did in three years and that’s like a video-game numbers kind of thing.”

With one more game, Davis would not only go for the Pistol’s all-time scoring record, but also the NCAA’s single-season three-pointer mark, set by some guy named Steph Curry in 2008. He would need eight shots to go in from behind the arc to pass Curry.

So let the kid play. He seems like a decent enough person, at least, saying last night, “I don’t take any of this for granted at all. I’m thankful for this. Blessed. I still feel like I’m the best scorer of my generation. Nobody can take that from me.” 

Keeping it classy, he also said he’s looking forward to the next NCAA player who challenges Maravich’s scoring title.

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