Antoine Davis has ended his pursuit of “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s NCAA scoring record.
The Detroit Mercy guard finished four points shy of breaking Maravich’s mark earlier this month in a loss during the Horizon League Tournament.
While it looked like Davis’ college career was over when the College Basketball Invitational did not extend an invitation to the Titans, he held out hope until Monday that he would get another chance to play, possibly in an inaugural College Hoops Postseason 8.
“I’m upset about it,” Davis said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I feel like I got cheated out of something that they can’t ever give back to me. I think it’s selfish — and weird — that people emailed or called the CBI to say we shouldn’t be in the tournament because they didn’t want me to break the record.
“But there’s nothing to hold my head down about. I still feel like I’m the best scorer in my generation, especially finishing No. 2 behind him.”
The CBI, which started Saturday, posted pictures on its Twitter account of Maravich and Davis shortly after Detroit Mercy lost at Youngstown State and had talks with the school about a potential invitation. Ultimately, the CBI decided not to give the Titans (14-19) an opportunity to pay $27,500 to play in the 16-team tournament.
“We did receive unsolicited emails and voicemails about Detroit Mercy and some said we don’t ever want Pete Maravich’s record broken,” said Rick Giles, president of the Gazelle Group that runs the CBI. “The decision we made wasn’t based purely on whether we wanted him to break the record or not.”
Jaeson Maravich said he did not have a personal problem with Davis, but he wasn’t happy that his father’s record had a chance to be broken in a lower-tier, pay-to-play college basketball postseason tournament.
“I think it’s a terrrible look,” Jaeson Maravich told the AP. “Your season should be over if you’re 14-19.
“This situation is very personal and sensitive to me. But to be clear, I’m not mad at Antoine Davis and I have nothing bad to say about Antoine Davis. My beef is with these tournaments.”
In mid-March of last year, the Titans were below .500 and still played in the postseason. Davis scored 24 points in a loss to Florida Gulf Coast in The Basketball Classic, and Fresno State went on to win the tournament’s championship.
Maravich closed his three-season, 83-game career at LSU with 3,667 points in 1970, and his mark has stood for more than a half-century. The dazzling guard, who went on to become a five-time NBA All-Star in a 10-season career, died in 1988 at 40 after suffering a heart attack in California while playing in a pickup game.
Davis scored 22 points in a 71-66 loss at Youngstown State in the 144th game of his five-year career. He missed four 3-pointers, one of them a wide-open look, in the final two minutes of his last college game.
“I had opportunities to do it in the Youngstown game,” Davis said. “I can’t be mad about it, but I just don’t get why people would go out of their way to say we shouldn’t have an opportunity.”
Davis, like all NCAA athletes enrolled when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., was granted a fifth year of eligibility.
The 6-foot-1 guard does own some NCAA records, including 144 straight games with double figures in scoring and 588 career 3-pointers. He led the nation with 28.2 points per game this season and 159 3-pointers, four shy of surpassing the single-season record set by Stephen Curry at Davidson during the 2007-08 season.
Detroit Mercy coach Mike Davis said his son’s pursuit of the scoring championship was not the only the reason the Titans were trying to play again. He said the postseason would have given previously banged-up players a chance to play for a team that was not healthy all season.
“People were trying to paint a picture of us that wasn’t true,” Mike Davis said. “The picture painted was that we were tyring to buy a record. The CBI was never going to let us in because of the backlash. The PS8 had teams pulling out, saying they wouldn’t play if we were going to be in the tournament.
“It’s disappointing that people were calling our school president and athletic director and the people running these tournaments to say don’t let us in. We just had to let it go.”
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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25