Antoine Davis on top of Pete Maravich’s NCAA goal-scoring record

Antoine Davis has his sights set on Pistol Pete Maravich's record

Antoine Davis has his sights set on Pistol Pete Maravich’s record
photo: Mitchell Layton (Getty Images)

What are the odds that the NCAA and NBA scoring records would fall within a month? Nothing lasts forever but the fact that it took a global pandemic and the NCAA granted athletes an extra year of eligibility for Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis to come within 26 points to break the all-time record of the Dwarfing the NCAA speaks to the absurdity of Pistol Pete Maravich’s legacy.

It took an incredibly long time LeBron James outperforms Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA all-time scorer list. Davis’ shot at Maravich required luck, opportunity, perfect health and ideal conditions to lead an offense for four years – and Davis’ father was the coach.

Maravich’s NCAA scoring record has been one of basketball’s most impenetrable barriers since he seemingly jumped out of a time machine with a skillset from the early 2000s and landed at LSU in 1967. If Maravich had been born five years later and arrived on campus in 1972, when the NCAA granted eligibility to all team sport freshmen, he could probably have attached at least another 1,200 to his 3,667 career points.

Still, Maravich accomplished in just three years what Davis and countless others before him accomplished in just four or five years. The closest a player has come to Maravich’s impressive place on the scoring mountaintop in the last 30 years has been Campbell’s Chris Clemonswho was missing more than 400 points when he retired in 2019.

Maravich was a 6-foot-5 calligrapher on the floor, whipping ingenious passes and executing complex dribbling move combinations that left opponents confused. Davis is a different type of goalscorer. At 6ft-1, he’s laser accurate on the edge of dribbling and can clear his way to the lane if defenders overwhelm themselves.

More than half of Davis’ field goal attempts Come out from behind the arch which only existed on the college floors more than a decade after Maravich had exhausted his eligibility. In January, Davis became the NCAA’s all-time leader in all-time 3-point field goals.

For Davis, his quest for this milestone was nearly thwarted several times. After his junior year Davis announced his intention to transfer to a large program to gain more notoriety and take advantage of NIL opportunities. After receiving interest from Power 5 programs, Davis decided to return.

But when the season started, his chances of catching Maravich were slim. Whether Davis Stats paddled to get here is up for debate another day. For what it’s worth, he’s eighth in the nation by minutes played, but he’s still averaging 28.4 points per contest while appearing in all 32 games this season and a career-high 42 percent from deep . to get within striking distance. He was turned up enough to shine Purdue Fort Wayne for 38 points Tuesday night in a win to stay within his season average from Maravich in his possible college resolution.

Davis’ shot at history will arrive Thursday night when Detroit Mercy is scheduled for a matchup against Horizon League Conference Tournament No. 1 Youngstown State. Barring a surprise, this will mark the end of Detroit Mercy’s season. In two games this season against Youngstown State, Davis has averaged 23.5 points, but that’s partly due to his 5-of-18 shooting in his first matchup of the season against the Penguins.

This time all the eyeballs and the associated pressure on him are trained. With both programs tracking the league’s automatic offer, Davis must balance a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with playing team ball against an opponent who may intend to take him out of play. Youngstown is not stupid. You also know the stakes for Davis.

If Davis doesn’t score at least 26 points and lose Detroit Mercy, it could be a disappointment of epic proportions, and it could be decades before another player gets the chance to race Pistol Pete’s peak.

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