It’s a tall order for Davis, who has had asterisk-worthy advantages that weren’t available for Maravich, who set the record in 83 games at LSU. Davis will play in his 143rd game Thursday night, helped by the NCAA waiver that gave an extra year of eligibility to athletes because of schedules that were upended by the coronavirus. Maravich played before the three-point shot came to the college game in 1986 and two years before the NCAA instituted eligibility for freshmen. Nor was there a shot clock when Maravich played.
A guide to early March Madness: What to know about the first conference tournaments
A 24-year-old fifth-year senior whose 28.1-point-per-game average leads the nation, Davis plays on a Titans team that has a 14-18 overall record, 9-11 in the Horizon. He scored 38 points Tuesday night against Purdue-Fort Wayne, but Youngstown State, the top seed in the tournament at 23-8 and 15-5 in the conference, presents a formidable challenge. Davis scored 32 points against Youngstown on Jan. 12, and 15 on Jan. 29, both Titans losses, and he has averaged 34.4 points over his past nine games.
But a loss Thursday would end the Titans’ season and Davis’s college career.
Davis’s coach, who happens to be his father, would be fine if his son and Maravich ended up sharing the record.
“I feel like Antoine is the best scorer of this generation and Pistol Pete is the best scorer from his generation,” Mike Davis, best known for his stint at Indiana, told Yahoo recently. Maravich’s son Jaeson agreed, although he noted that Davis’s five-year record and his father’s over three years are “really an apples and oranges comparison.”
“I’m proud of all my dad’s records,” Maravich said of his father, a Hall of Famer who died in 1988 at the age of 40. “I’d like them to stand as long as possible. But if he breaks it, I’m certainly not going to hate on this guy. I’ll be happy for him.”
Davis, the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-point baskets with 584, quickly rose on the all-time scoring list this season, passing players such as J.J, Redick, Larry Bird, Tyler Hansbrough and Oscar Robertson. On Tuesday night, he was aware of how his pursuit of the scoring mark and winning are intertwined.
“Yeah, I mean I’m close now, really close,” Davis told the Detroit News with his dog, Milo, sitting at his feet. “It’d be good to get it the next game, but, you know, we got to win these games.”