YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Antoine Davis outscored them all – except for “Pistol” Pete.
Detroit Mercy’s star guard finished four points shy of surpassing Pete Maravich as the NCAA career scoring leader on Thursday night, scoring 22 in a gritty 71-66 loss to Youngstown State in the Horizon League tournament.
Davis came in needing 26 points to break Maravich’s hallowed mark that stood for over 50 years. But after picking his fourth foul with 3:36 left, the 6-foot-1 guard didn’t drive to the basket and then missed four 3-pointers – one of them a wide-open look – in the final two minutes of the intense game.
After the final buzzer, tempers briefly flared and Davis, who was pestered by Youngstown State defenders all night, had to be restrained from going after one of the Penguins players. There was some debris thrown at him from the student section as he was whisked off the floor.
Unless Detroit Mercy gets an unlikely postseason bid, Davis finishes with 3,664 points in five seasons. Maravich amassed 3,667 points in just three years while playing for his dad, Press, and he did it before there was a 3-point line or shot clock.
That doesn’t diminish what Davis accomplished as one of the most prolific scorers in college history.
Davis had just seven points at halftime as the top-seeded Penguins harassed him all over the floor and made it tough for him to get a good look at the basket.
He began to find his range in the second half, but couldn’t put together one of his patented sprees.
Wearing a protective mask to protect a broken nose sustained earlier this season at Cincinnati, Davis started slowly in front of a sellout crowd inside Beeghly Center on Youngstown State’s campus.
The rail-thin graduate senior missed his first four shots before dropping an off-balance jumper from the top of the key with 14:01 left in the half. He followed with a 3-pointer and also made a baseline fadeaway.
Youngstown State’s defense is making it tough on Davis, trapping him at times and face-guarding him on a few possessions.
Davis finished 7 of 26 from the field, including 4 of 16 on 3-pointers.
Davis scored 38 on Tuesday night in a win over Purdue Fort Wayne to advance the Titans (14-18) and close in on the mark that Maravich set as an All-American for LSU from 1967-70.
Just weeks after LeBron James went past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career scoring leader, Davis just missed his chance to top Maravich, the Hall of Famer his father had him study while learning to play as a kid.
Davis already holds several NCAA records, including consecutive games in double figures (143) and 3-pointers (584). He led Division I with 159 3s this season, and finished four from breaking Stephen Curry’s record of 162 in a season (2007-08).
Unlike Davis, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maravich didn’t play as a freshman – it wasn’t allowed at the time – and there was also no 3-point line or shot clock, placing a premium on every possession.
It’s mind-boggling to consider that Maravich, who died in 1988 at age 40 after suffering a heart attack while playing in a pickup game, averaged 44.2 points without taking or making a single 3-pointer.
But it also should be noted that Maravich attempted 3,166 shots while Davis came in with 2,961.
Along with their scoring proclivity, Davis and Maravich share something else: both played college ball while being coached by their fathers.
Mike Davis has credited losing his job at UAB and moving his family to Houston, where his son, then in middle school worked out with former NBA coach John Lucas, with changing the trajectory of his playing career.
To supplement the hours working with Lucas, Davis had his son watch instructional videos of Maravich, who had a gift for making dribbling, passing and shooting look easy.
“A lot of times people can do things but they can’t teach it,” Mike Davis told Yahoo Sports. “Pete could actually teach it. The way he explained how he did things, it was so simple. You didn’t have to be a basketball coach to understand.”