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Pete Maravich's Career at LSU - Senior Season

Coach Press Maravich entered the 1969-70 season with by far his best squad in his four seasons at LSU.

  • The main addition was 6-8 sophomore F-C Al "Little Apple" Sanders from Baton Rouge High. He was expected to improve both the Tigers' defense and rebounding.
  • Another sophomore, 6-9 Bill "Fig" Newton, added more bulk.
  • Senior F Danny Hester returned to complete a formidable front line ready to take on a tough non-conference and SEC schedule.
  • Seniors Jeff Tribbett and Rich Hickman would split time at the other starting G spot.
  1. December 4, 1969: Oregon State
    The Beavers came to Baton Rouge having split the first two games on their road trip to the southeast. They went back to the West Coast a 94-72 loser before 9,800 rabid fans at the Parker Agricultural Coliseum. Pete tallied 43, and Hester added 25. Significantly, the Tigers outrebounded the visitors from the Pac-8 Conference 49-43.
  2. December 9: Loyola (N.O.)
    Pete matched his 43 from the first game in the 100-87 victory. The Tigers achieved more balance in their scoring this time as Sanders and Hickman canned 14 while Hester threw in 10.
  3. December 11: Vanderbilt
    Coach Roy Skinner's Commodores were 3-1, including a conference win over Ole Miss 87-75. Their big front line, averaging over 6-9 per man, would provide a big test for LSU's big men. The 10,800 who packed the Cow Palace were rewarded with a record-setting performance by Maravich. His 61 points broke the SEC individual game mark. The Tigers soundly beat the Dores on the boards, 61-48, on their way to a 109-86 triumph.
  4. December 13: @Tulane
    The Tigers bussed to New Orleans for their first road trip of the new season to face the Greenies, who had taken both meetings the previous season despite Pete's 121 points in the two contests. This game illustrated LSU's added depth. The Pistol scored only 46 this time, but the Tigers gained a hard-fought 97-91 victory in the packed-to-the-rafters gym on Freret Street. It was the first time the Green Wave had held Pete under 50 points in his five games against TU. Maravich climbed another rung on the NCAA all-time career scoring list, replacing Tom Gola in seventh place.
  5. December 18: Southern California
    The 4-0 Tigers made an appearance in the AP poll at #15 (and #17 in the UPI rankings) just in time to face #13 USC, who sat at #4 in the UPI list. The matchup attracted 10,600, the largest crowd ever to watch an LSU home game. With the Trojans dominating the boards early in the game and hitting over half their shots from the field, the Tigers fell behind by as many as 23 points in the second half before staging a furious rally that nearly pulled out the victory. LSU trailed 95-86 with 2:28 remaining but pulled within one point, 97-96, at 0:51 on Pete's undernanded layup. 20 seconds later, USC's Ron Riley tipped in a missed FT to extend the lead back to three. After an LSU miss, Dennis Layton, "one of three blacks in the Trojans starting lineup" as pointed out by Ted Castillo of the Baton Rouge Advocate, taunted the crowd to boo him as he tossed in both ends of a 1-and-1 with only nine seconds left. Pete's 18th FG of the game with a second to play made the final margin 101-98. Often double-teamed, Maravich finished with 50 points, slightly over his average of 48.8. USC coach Bob Boyd praised the atmosphere in the Ag Center. That crowd is the most responsive I have ever seen. This is the kind of crowd we want at USC.
  6. December 20: Clemson @Charlotte
    Ronnie Yates had done a fine job guarding Pete the year before in the Tigers' 86-85 squeaker over the Clemson Tigers on their home court when he "held" The Pistol to 38. In the rematch, Pete bettered that by ten as the Tigers rode a sizzling, record-breaking 71.4% FG percentage to an 111-103 victory. Press, who had coached Clemson (1956-62), said afterward: I wasn't happy with our defense. Any team that shoots as well as we did tonight should have no trouble winning.
  7. December 22: @Oregon State
    Still ranked #15 by AP, the Tigers left the morning after the Clemson game for the coast-to-coast trip to Corvallis and the return engagement with the Beavers. OSU coach Paul Valenti decided to use a different tactic against Maravich - fouling. A record crowd of 10,388 watched Pete score only eight baskets on 23 attempts but make an incredible 30 of 31 charity tosses. His FT with 2:34 left in the game put LSU ahead to stay 69-68. Tribbett added two more seconds later and Hickman another as the Tigers prevailed 76-68. Along the way, they came back from a 13-point deficit and seven technical fouls called by the Pac-8 officials including three against Press, two against Pete, and one against Sanders that also included ejection for fighting.
  8. December 23: @UCLA
    Coach John Wooden said he didn't plan any special defenses against Pete. We'll try to hold him to his average and not let the rest of them score very much. The travel-weary Bengals were no match for the #2 Bruins who raced to a 69-40 halftime lead and coasted to a 133-84 victory, setting a school record for points scored in a game in the process. The Maravich Road Show attracted another record crowd, this one 12,961 in Pauley Pavilion. Pete said, UCLA should join the NBA. They'd fit right in. They're better than last year. They just blew us out. We didn't have a chance. But he added: I was dead tired.
    Read a longer article about the game | Watch a video of the game.
  9. December 28: Sub Pac Raiders @ Honolulu
    The Tigers flew to Hawaii from Los Angeles for the Rainbow Classic. A few days of rest and sight-seeing did them good.
    They played a military team, the Sub Pac Raiders, in the first round of the Classic, but the game was not sanctioned by the NCAA and thus did not figure into the Tigers' record. Even so, a standing-room-only crowd of 7,433 oohed and aahed at Pete's "blind passing and trick dribbling" as the Tigers won 88-80. The nation's leading scorer managed only 26 points, but it didn't count against his official NCAA average.
  10. December 29: St. John's's @ Honolulu
    Sporting a 7-2 record identical to LSU's, the Redmen gave up the most points by an individual in school history. That individual, of course, was Pete Maravich, who tallied 53 to thrill another capacity crowd. After complaining of a fever and a tired feeling before the game, Pete scored only 18 in the first half, and both Newton and Hester got into early foul trouble. As a result, the Tigers trailed 31-29 at halftime. St. John's controlled the tempo with their deliberate style of offense, but a sticky pressure man-to-man defense helped the Tigers get going in the second half on their way to an 80-70 triumph and a spot in the tournament finals. Afterwards, Papa Press talked about his son's health. Pete was feeling pretty bad. We are going to give him a penicillin shot and just hope for the best. He added, I think the defense we used early in the second half was the turning point. They didn't score for about three or four minutes, and Pete got hot and put us ahead.
  11. December 30: Yale @ Honolulu
    The Ivy League lads showed they had come to play when they jumped to an 11-2 lead. When The Pistol finally found the range, the Tigers jumped to a 51-42 halftime lead. But in the second half, the Eli double-teamed Pete, leaving the other G open. Maravich ended with only 10 points in the final 20 minutes for a total of 34 as Yale battled back to take the title 97-94 despite Newton scoring a career-high 22 to go with 18 rebounds. Needless to say, Pete made the All-Tournament team and received the MVP award.
  12. January 3, 1970: Alabama
    The weary Tigers had only a few days to recuperate before resuming SEC play. An estimated 2,000 fans who braved the cold weather were turned away from the Saturday night clash. The 9,400 who got into the Cow Palace saw LSU again start slowly before picking up the pace to lead 48-35 at intermission. To the many who asked "How many did Pete get?" before learning who won, the answer is 55. The second answer is Tigers 90 Tide 83. Led by Apple's 16, the Tigers outrebounded the visitors 55-41.
  13. January 10: Auburn
    The next set of visitors from Alabama took it to the Tigers from the opening tip. LSU never led in the game. Auburn's lead reached 18 before a flurry of Maravich FGs reduced the margin to 47-34 at the half. Coach Maravich abandoned his big front line to start the second half and played both Hickman and Tribbett. But the move didn't bother the visitors who maintained a double-digit lead until the final minute to hand LSU its first conference loss, 79-70. Pete ended with 44 but had to take 46 shots to score that many.
  14. January 24: @Kentucky
    After a two-week break for semester exams, the Tigers met their second #2-ranked team on the road. This time it was Adolph Rupp's Wildcats. LSU performed much better than they did at UCLA as Pete hit 55 to keep the visitors within striking distance before finally succumbing 109-96. Pete received a standing ovation from the overflow crowd when introduced before the game. The attendance was announced at 11,500, but veteran reporters estimated the total at 13,000. UK's sharpshooter, Dan Issell, scored 35 and got more help from his mates. After Pete, the next four high scorers were Wildcats.
  15. January 26: Tennessee
    Back home in the friendly confines of the Coliseum, the Bengals stormed back in the second half to hand the Vols a 71-59 drubbing before - it goes without saying - a capacity crowd. The game saw Pete score the most in his career against UT - 29, eight more than his previous high. The Tigers missed four straight FTs as well as numerous layups as the Vols grabbed a 32-25 advantage at the half. But it was a different story after intermission when LSU outscored the Big Orange by 19 to gain their first win over Tennessee since 1963. The Tigers again led in rebounds 45-38.
    After the game, Press was asked about Pete being drafted #1 by the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association. That's wonderful, but so what? The LSU coach also stated that he "wasn't interested" in any package deal whereby he would join the pros to coach his son.
  16. January 31: Ole Miss
    With 4:42 to play and LSU comfortably ahead 93-76, Pete Maravich sank a 23' jump shot. The significance? The two points gave him enough to break Oscar Robertson's all-time NCAA scoring record of 2,973. The court quickly filled with fans as the roar from thousands of shouting lungs enveloped everyone. Pete's teammates put him on their shoulders. When play finally resumed, the Tigers wrapped up the 109-86 victory. Pete ended with 53, almost seven points over his season average.
  17. February 2: Mississippi State
    The Pistol reached another milestone by becoming the first collegiate cager to tally 3,000 points in his career. And again the joy was magnified by an LSU victory, 109-91. Pete's final total for the game: 49. LSU enjoyed a 5-2 SEC record before embarking on a two-game road trip.
  18. February 4: @Florida
    Another full house, 5,100, for the most exciting basketball player in the country - college or pro. Pete's 52 points shattered his own arena record of 50 set the year before. The Gator fans gave him a standing ovation after his final basket despite the fact that the 97-75 romp was the Tigers' first victory in Gainesville since 1963.
  19. February 7: @Alabama
    Another arena-record crowd and the regional TV audience watching the Saturday afternoon clash weren't disappointed as Pete scored a personal-best 69 points, including 47 in the second half despite two pulled muscles. But Tiger fans were disappointed by the outcome - a 106-104 setback. LSU's league-leading rebounders ran into early foul trouble. To make matters worse, Danny Hester was ejected from the rugged contest with 3:31 left in the first half. Then Fig Newton picked up his fourth personal three seconds before intermission. The third member of the frontline trio, Apple Sanders, committed his fourth foul midway through the second half. Right after the final horn, a brawl broke out on the floor as Pete pursued a spectator who hit him on the back, and several other players became involved in a fight which was quickly broken up.
  20. February 9: Tulane
    A different kind of record was set as the Tigers' 127 points ranked as the most ever against a Green Wave team. It was good enough to defeat the visitors by 13. Maravich sank 49 while Hester had his personal high with 34. As usual between these rivals, the game was rough with 53 fouls called on the two squads. Defense fell by the wayside as LSU hit 52.6% of its shots and Tulane 49%.
  21. February 11: Florida
    When you've beaten a team by 22 on their home court, it may be difficult to take them seriously when they come to your den. At any rate, Florida led 43-42 at halftime before falling 94-85. Again taking a physical pounding, Pete threw in 38 but got help from his three frontliners in double figures: Newton 17, Hester 16, Sanders 15.
  22. February 14: @Vanderbilt
    After scoring only 10 in the first 20 minutes, Maravich finished with 38 for the second straight game. With strong contributions from Hester (23 points) and Newton (22), the Tigers defeated the Commodores 99-89.
  23. February 16: @Auburn
    Having lost to the Plainsmen at home, the Bayou Bengals wouldn't seem to have much chance of beating them at their place for the first time in 17 years. But when you have Superman on your team, you have a chance against anyone. Led by Pete's 46, LSU won 70-64. With LSU at 16-6, the Tigers were given a good chance of making a post-season tournament.
  24. February 18: Georgia
    The Tigers survived a frenzied rally by the Bulldogs in the final 10 seconds to strengthen their hold on second place in the SEC with an 88-86 victory. Trailing 77-68 with less than nine minutes to play, Georgia steadily closed the gap until the margin shrank to 86-84 with 13 seconds to play. LSU appeared to have iced their fifth straight victory when Hester hit two FTs with 0:12 on the clock. But a quick FG reduced the margin to two again. Then Herb White stole the inbounds pass and batted it to Tom Brennan, whose shot rimmed out at the buzzer. The Dogs held Pete to 37, but Newton scored 25.
  25. February 21: Kentucky
    Still #2, the Wildcats came to Baton Rouge for a regionally-televised afternoon game. The Tigers needed a win to stay in contention for the SEC title. After Pete lit up the Cats for 50 in Lexington in January despite an assortment of defenses thrown at him, Coach Rupp said there was no way to stop him. Could the Tigers play enough defense to pull off the upset in Pete's last home game? The TV audience saw an amazing game in which UK's Dan Issel scored 51 points and wasn't the leading scorer by 13. That honor went to Pete - who else? - who finished his home career with the most points he ever scored in the Ag Center. But it wasn't enough to prevent the Wildcats from sealing the SEC title with a 121-105 win. Read complete article on this game.

    Pete no-look pass to Sanders past Dan Issel.
  26. February 23: @Tennessee
    Coaches preach, Don't let one heartbreaking loss become two. After the excitement of the Kentucky game, LSU had to travel to Knoxville where they hadn't won since 1962. Down seven points with 2:23 to play, the Tigers made a tremendous comeback to take the lead 87-86 only to lose on a last-second shot by Vol G Rudy Kinard. Pete managed to score his career high against the Vols - 30, one more than he compiled in Baton Rouge in January, including his team's last five. Despite the loss, LSU was considered a shoo-in for an NIT invitation.
  27. February 28: @Ole Miss
    Continuing their annual season-ending road trip because of other events in the Ag Center, the Tigers traveled to Oxford, where they had lost the previous two seasons. But LSU now had Apple Sanders, and the SEC's #1 rebounder scored 31, almost double his previous single-game high, to spark the Tigers' 103-90 win. Pete connected on only four of 19 shots in the first half before finishing with 35.
  28. March 2: @Mississippi State
    Ho-hum, another record for Pete. He broke Elvin Hayes' single season scoring record of 1,215 points. His 55 led the Tigers to a hard-earned victory over the Bulldogs 97-87 a day after LSU accepted a bid to the National Invitational Tournament in Madison Square Garden. Incredibly, The Pistol scored 30 of LSU's final 32 points. Again, superior rebounding (58-41) contributed to the win.
  29. March 7: @Georgia
    LSU closed its most successful season in 16 years with its 20th victory, 99-88, before "a fire marshall crowd" of 10,600. The standard formula for success during the season, aggressive rebounding (58-43 edge) and the scoring and ball-handling of Maravich (41 points), worked again. The Tigers hit a blistering 54.1% from the field.
  30. Read about LSU's NIT games ...

  31. March 15: NIT - Georgetown
    The Tigers won 83-82 despite Pete scoring only 20.
  32. March 17: NIT - Oklahoma
    LSU won 97-94. Pete scored 37.
  33. March 19: NIT - Marquette
    #8 Marquette won 101-79. Pete scored just 20 again.
  34. March 21: NIT - Army
    Army won 75-68. Pete didn't play because of injuries.

Maravich ended the season with 1381 points and his career with 3,667, both records to this day (2018) even with the 3-point shot since 1979 and players having four years of eligibility.

  • He increased his average every year, 43.8 to 44.2 to 44.5.
  • His assist average also rose from 4.0 to 4.9 to 6.2.
  • As of 2018, Pete still leads the NCAA in career scoring by 418 over Freeman Williams of Portland State, who played four years (1974-78).

Naturally, he made the All-America team for the third straight season. The other members on the consensus first team were:

  • Dan Issel, Kentucky
  • Bob Lanier, St. Bonaventure
  • Rick Mount, Purdue
  • Calvin Murphy, Niagara

Al "Apple" Sanders

Bill "Fig" Newton

John Wooden

Henry Bibby scores over Danny Hester


Adolph Rupp

Pete shoots over Dan Issel

Pete shoots against Auburn.

Pete's record-setting shot against Ole Miss

Maravich after record-setting shot

Pete shoots against Alabama

Pete vs Kentucky

Dan Issel shoots over Danny Hester

Pete vs Oklahoma

Pete vs Marquette

Return to Basketball Magazine

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – I
Tiger Firsts: Basketball Team | LSU National Champs | Joe Adcock | Pistol vs UCLA | Eddie Palubinskas | Dazzling Debut: Chris Jackson | Tiger Firsts: Final Four | Dale Brown Takes Over

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – II
BR Sports Academy | Four Little Points | Harry Rabenhorst | Shaq's 30-point SEC Game | Maravich's Freshman Circus | First AP Poll Ranking | The Dark Knight Strikes | Ricky Blanton | Tigers Are Back!

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – III
"Most Bizarre Set of Circumstances I Ever Saw" | Joe Dean | The Cow Palace | Still Playing at 41 | Pioneer | "It's the socks, Pete!" | Largest Deficit Overcome | Maravich Is for Real

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – IV
"Little Giant" | Shaquille O'Neal | Pete Breaks His Own Mark | What a Difference a Day Makes | When Lexington Went Wild over Beating the Tigers | Superdome Sizzlers

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – V
Pistol Pete Invades the Big Apple
Memorable Games: Kentucky 1978
Profile: Bobby Lowder
1938 SEC Tournament

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VI
First Visit to the Big Apple
Don't Look Ahead
Profile: Bob Pettit I, II, III, IV
Pete's Farewell

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VII
Season in Time: 2005-06

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