Tiger Den Basketball Archives –VIII
Pete Maravich's Career at LSU - Freshman Year


Jim Corbett

Press Maravich

Freshman Pete Maravich

Greg Bernbrock as an LSU player

Rich Hickman

Maravich layup vs Auburn

Pete shoots against Vols in season finale

Pete Maravich came to LSU with his father Press for the 1966-67 school year.
  • Pete didn't want to come to LSU even after his father got the job in Baton Rouge. He wanted to go to West Virginia, the alma mater of his idol, Jerry West.
  • But LSU AD Jim Corbett offered Press the LSU job on condition that he bring his son with him. The contract called for a salary of $15,000 per year for five years, estimated to be $5,000 per year more than Press was making at North Carolina State.
    Pete wrote in his 1979 autobiography: Dad wasn't look for another rebuilding challenge when he first interviewed for the LSU position, but he needed more pay. He was still in debt and having to borrow a hundred dollars a month from the NC State football coach just to pay monthly utilities.
  • Pete couldn't make the 800 ACT minimum to enroll at an ACC school. So if Press was going to coach his son, he couldn't stay at N. C. State.
  • But Pete said, LSU, that's a doggone football school. They probably don't even have a gym down there. Press retorted, You go to West Virginia, you don't ever bring your ass back into my house again.
  • Finally, Pete offered a deal. If I'm going to LSU, you got to buy me a car. But Press wouldn't agree. Don't ever come home again. Eventually, Pete caved in.

The younger Maravich was more right than he knew when he said, They probably don't even have a gym down there.

  • LSU played its home games in the Parker Agricultural Coliseum built in 1937 with a capacity of 12,000. At the time of its construction, it was the biggest coliseum in the U.S., measuring 6' larger than Maidson Square Garden.
  • The "Cow Palace," as it came to be called, was a multipurpose arena intended for use for livestock shows, rodeos, and boxing matches as well as basketball games.
  • So you can imagine the smell that permeated the facility even with a basketball court laid over the ground.
  • Since the Ag Center was under the control of the School of Agriculture, the basketball home schedule had to take into account the annual horse show in the fall and the rodeo in the spring.

Under NCAA rules, freshmen were ineligible for varsity competition.

  • So schools fielded freshmen teams which played their games as the opener of a doubleheader with the varsity game as the nightcap.
  • Word spread quickly that "you've got to see the fabulous freshman." So fans packed the Coliseum for the freshman game with many turned away. When the freshman game ended, most of the audience left.
  • With Press's first team suffering through a 3-23 season, LSU's pleas to fans to stay for the varsity game fell on deaf ears.
    Governor John McKeithen rarely missed a home game. He sat next to Press during the freshman game and left when it ended. A new arena had been on the drawing boards for years. McKeithen moved it up on the priority list after experiencing Pete Fever.
1966-67 LSU Freshman Team
Rich Hickman is kneeling third from left. "Skinny Pete" stands at far right.
Here's the log of Pete's freshman season as recreated from newspaper accounts.
  1. December 1, 1966: Southeastern Louisiana College
    The largest crowd ever to see a freshman basketball game saw "the most highly regarded basketball player at LSU since Bob Pettit" score 50 points as the Baby Bengals of Coach Greg Bernbrock crushed the SLC frosh 119-70.
    Pete recalled: The smell of livestock, mingled with popcorn and cigarette smoke, filled the air in the John M. Parker Coliseum. The removable floor was back in place, covering the spot where dirt andmanure lay two weeks earlier.
    When he wasn't scoring, he was passing the ball to open teammates (he had 11 scoring assists out of a total of 20 for the team) or grabbing rebounds (14 of them). And he kept the crowd in a constant uproar with his dribbling and passing, which kept the defense in a state of near-panic and at times caught his own teammates unprepared to handle a round ball which suddenly loomed up in front of them.
    Pete's teammates had to adjust to his passing skills, as sophomore C Ralph Jukkola explained. In high school, every pass was a chest pass or a bounce pass. Now the balls were coming from behind his back and between his legs. You were getting hit in the chest with perfect passes, but you had no idea where they were coming from. They were from angles we had never seen before. It took a lot of getting used to.
    The players said that the only time you didn't have to be ready for a pass from Pete was when he was looking right at you.
  2. December 6: Baton Rouge Hawks
    A semipro team composed of ex-collegians, led by C Jimmy Cress, who was SLC's MVP his senior year, gave the Tigers a tussle before falling 83-79. Cress canned 40 points to Pete's 34. Maravich had the edge on the boards, though, grabbing 22 caroms to Jimmy's 10. Pete also collected eight assists.
  3. December 9: @Loyola JV (New Orleans)
    After trailing at halftime 33-29, the Tigers clawed back to defeat the Wolfpups 74-72 as Pete sank a jump shot "in the waning seconds" to finish with 34 points, including the last 11 for the Baby Bengals.
  4. December 14: Tulane
    LSU won (score unknown) as Pete scored 34.
  5. December 17: @Mississippi State
    Pistol Pete canned 35 points and added nine assists and nine rebounds in handing the Bullpups their first defeat in four efforts, 113-81.
  6. December 19: @Ole Miss
    Maravich dropped in 43 in drubbing the Rebel frosh 97-76.
  7. January 3, 1967: @Auburn
    Maravich scored 40 and recorded 18 assists in the 88-73 victory.
  8. January 7: Bordens
    LSU won 98-68 over the independent team. Pete scored 40.
  9. January 9: Southern Mississippi
    Pete sat out the game but the Baby Bengals won anyway 97-82.
  10. January 12: @Tulane
    The Baby Bengals continued their unbeaten streak but just barely. They beat the Baby Billow 69-68 in OT as Pete scored 31, his season low. He dribbled out the last seconds to protect the one-point margin. A crowd of 5,200, largest of the season, packed Tulane Gym for the doubleheader.
  11. January 30: Baton Rouge Hawks
    In the second meeting with the Hawks, Pete outdid himself with a sensational 66-point performance in the 111-84 triumph. Pete canned 26 of 51 shots to set a new Coliseum record, breaking the old mark of Bob Pettit by 16 points.
  12. February 4: Loyola JV
    The Wolfpups brought only six players as 7,500 fans, "most of them members of the Pete Maravich fan club," watched Pete throw down 50 in the 105-59 lambasting before the varsity took on Kentucky.
  13. February 6: St. Mark's Lutheran
    Another independent team provided the opposition prior to the varsity game against Tennessee. While the Baby Bengals won 137-89, Pete had one of his poorest shooting nights and sat on the bench with the first-team unit part of the second half. He also lost the ball on the floor several times. But he did set a frosh record by making 20 of 21 FTs.
  14. February 8: Auburn
    Pete outscored the entire Auburn team in the first half, 33-30, on his way to 57 points as the Bengals romped to a 108-71 victory, their 14th in a row.
  15. February 9: @Southern Mississippi
    Maravich suffered a cut over his eye that caused him to leave the court with 5:40 left in the first half. He returned after taking eight stitches at the university infirmary at halftime to lead LSU to a 94-86 win over the USM frosh. The Southerners rallied to take a 41-40 halftime lead while during his absence and led by five when he returned shortly after the second half started. Pete hit for 27 in the second half for a total of 42 and sank two FTs with 4:25 left to put the Bengals ahead to stay 83-82.
    Paul Milanovich, Pete's teammate on the freshmen team: I don't think those southern boys appreciated the way we played. Pete was always getting roughed up.
  16. February 18: LSU Alumni
    The Tiger frosh beat a team of former LSU cage standouts 118-75 in a game that included "clowning and outlandish cage tactics." For once Pete wasn't alone at the top of the LSU scoring list as teammate Rich Hickman matched him with 28 points.
  17. February 20: Mississippi State
    7,000 fans watched Maravich & Company dispatch the Bullpups for the second time 106-71. Pete bucketed 53, well in excess of his season's average of 43.7, and "his general all-court play was better than usual, mostly because the rugged Staters presented a real challenge."
  18. February 25: Ole Miss
    The Baby Bengals outscored the Baby Rebels 110-98 in "a wild cage affair in which defense was tossed out the front doors." Maravich picked up 45 points on 41 shots while Hickman added 32.
    Nobody could've imagined that fans would be turned away from a freshmen game, but that's exactly what happened for the last home game of the season. Attendance was given as 9,200 in a facility that seated 8,000.
  19. March 4: @Tennessee
    The Vol frosh stunned LSU's unbeaten freshman team 75-74 when Pete missed a FT with four seconds to go that would have tied the game. He still gained high-scoring honors with 31 points. The Baby Bengals finished the season with a 17-1 record.
    Pete: Still unable to handle such a loss, I disappeared for several hours after the game. I needed time alone to deal with the disappointment.
    Student trainer Billy Simmons: Pete couldn't believe he missed that shot. He talked about that his whole college career. But you've got to understand what he did to get those free throws. He got the ball off the inbounds and cut in front of a guy from Tennessee who was trailing the play. Nobody else even had the savvy to even think about that kind of thing.

Tiger fans began counting the days until Pete Maravich would perform on the varsity for the 1967-68 season.

Read Tiger Rag article on Pete's "lost" freshman year

Pete Maravich's Career at LSU - Sophomore Season

After a year in limbo (freshman team), Pete Maravich could play varsity ball for LSU in 1967-68.

  • His father-coach Press Maravich hoped that 6'8" sophomore Randy Lamont from Warren IL and 6'3" junior Ralph Jukkola, also a midwesterner from Dayton OH, would provide the rebounding the Tigers would need to compete in the SEC.
  • Press: Rebounding is critical to us. It could well determine the outcome of a closely contested ball game. A few key rebounds here and there really make a difference in a close game. Not only must we have the basketball if our fastbreak is to amount to anything but we've got to keep the other team from taking the second and third shot.
  • The other two starters would also be Pete's teammates from the freshmen team: 5-11 Jeff Tribbett and 6-0 Rich Hickman.
    Tribbett, a 6' G from Lebanon IN where he fed future All-American Rick Mount, hadn't expected to start at any college as a sophomore. Just dumb luck, he recalled. It just so happened that we walked into such a horseshit basketball program.

Press's second LSU squad did not have a tough act to follow.

  • The 1966-67 Bengals won only three games against 23 losses.
  • Now the fans could come to the Parker Ag Center later and pack the place for the varsity game.
  • All season tickets were sold and the remaining tickets for the opening game were also gone.
    At Press's urging, LSU formed a pep band and a team of pom-pom girls for home games.

Pete Maravich embarked on another record-breaking season.

  1. December 2, 1967: Tampa
    One of the three teams the Tigers defeated the year came to Baton Rouge as the sacrificial lamb in LSU's 97-81 victory. Pete sank 20 of 50 FG attempts (the latter being a school record) and eight of nine FTs for 48 points. One stat, though, must have concerned Press. The visitors outrebounded his boys 57-53.
  2. December 4: @Texas
    Pete scored 21 points in each half to lead the Tigers past the Longhorns, 87-74, before a "packed house" of 6,000. LSU received 19 points from its bench.
  3. December 9: Loyola (N.O.)
    The Wolfpack were thoroughly outclassed 90-56 as Maravich scored 51. The Tigers had already equaled their entire win output of the '66-67 season.
  4. December 15: Wisconsin @Milwaukee
    The Tigers suffered their first loss as Big Ten favorite Wisconsin won in the last half minute 96-94. After the Badgers went ahead on two FTs with 18 seconds left, Jeff Tribbett missed a 15' jumper with 0:03 on the clock. LSU had fought back from an 83-70 deficit with 8:31 left.
  5. December 16: Florida State @Milwaukee
    The Seminoles rolled up the highest point total in their basketball history in defeating LSU 130-100 in the consolation game of the Milwaukee Basketball Classic. Maravich's 42 points led all scorers. The game was tied at 77 before the Tiger defense fell apart, especially after Jukkola fouled out with six and a half minutes remaining.
  6. December 19: Ole Miss
    The Tigers returned to Baton Rouge and to the win column in their first SEC game. The Rebels fell 81-68. "Skinny Pete" popped in 46 as LSU used a "rugged" all-court press.
  7. December 22: Mississippi State
    Fans sat in the aisles to watch the Tigers tame the Bulldogs 111-87. Maravich, who endured a cold first half with only 16 points, erupted for 42 in the final 20 minutes to break Bob Pettit's school scoring record in an SEC game.
  8. December 30: Alabama
    The Tigers sat alone atop the SEC standings with their third straight conference win, 81-79 before an overflow crowd of 10,000. Pete scored only 30 points, 17 below his average.
  9. January 3, 1968: Auburn
    The Tigers brought their famous shuffle and almost pulled off an upset, but the homestanding Tigers prevailed by four points. Pistol Pete scored all but 21 of LSU's 76 points. No other Bengal had more than seven.
  10. January 6: @Florida
    LSU's first road SEC game resulted in their first conference defeat. C Neal Walk scored 39, seven more than Pete, to spark UF's 97-90 victory. Averaging 39 shots a game, Maravich was held to only 22 by Mike Leatherwood with just nine falling through the nets. The Pistol didn't hit his first FG until 8:22 remained in the first half.
    One of the spectators in Gainesville was a former assistant coach under Press, Les Robinson. He recalled: Press wasn't the same coach I knew at N. C. State. He had already become obsessed with Pete's numbers. He had gone from being one of the greatest coaches in the game to the coach of the greatest player in the game. That's the only criticism I have of Coach Maravich: he loved his son too much.
  11. January 8: @Georgia
    Pete poured in 42 points, and the Tigers needed almost all of them to hand the Bulldogs their first SEC defeat 79-76 and snap their six-game winning streak. The nation's leading scorer hit only 14 of 38 shots from the field. The attendance at Stegeman Coliseum, which officially held 11,000, was given as 14,200 - the largest basketball crowd in the state's history.
  12. January 11: @Tulane
    5,500 fans jammed the Tulane Gym (listed seating capacity: 4,400) to the rafters and watched in amazement as the player they came to see tallied 52. The officials called 45 fouls in the 100-91 Tiger triumph. Rich Hickman added 18.
    The Tigers pregame routine gave Pete a chance to show his repertoire of moves as he fed each player going to the basket. Tulane's top scorer, Johnny Arthurs, recalled: You were never supposed to look at your opponent during warm-ups. But there we were, watching Pete put on a show.
    Pete Finney wrote in the New Orleans States-Item the next day: I've never seen a righthanded player throw a lefthanded behind-the-back bounce pass going full speed on a two-on-one fast break - and hit the outside man in stride for a layup.
    The proud papa, Press Maravich, told a Time magazine reporter: I get to the point where I don't coach him. I just watch.
  13. January 24: Clemson
    After taking a break for exams, the Tigers hosted the ACC Tigers. Bud Montet started his Morning Advocate article like this: The Clemson Tigers found out how to defend LSU's sophomore whiz, Pete Maravich, but couldn't find the formula to best the Bengals as the local "Whiz Kids" whizzed to a 104-to-81 victory ... Clemson's secret weapon was referee Don Wedge and umpire T. D. Norris who fouled the pride of the Tiger fans out with 12:27 left in the game. Pete left the court with 33 points and the Bayou Bengals ahead 69-54. The irate fans littered the floor with paper cups, ice, and other debris. When Wedge called a technical foul on LSU because of the crowd, the noise got louder. A half dozen state policemen escorted the officials from the court at the end of the game.
  14. January 27: Kentucky
    The 10-3 Tigers hosted #9 Kentucky. How would Adolph Rupp's perennial SEC powerhouse defend the Pistol? The answer was "not well" but it didn't make any difference. Pete had to work hard to get 52 points but it wasn't enough as the Wildcats shot 57.8% from the floor on their way to a surprisingly easy 121-95 victory.
  15. January 29: Vanderbilt
    The next visitor to the Ag Center was Roy Skinner's #7 Commodores. Coach Press had told his son to curtail his interviews because "he's getting mentally haggard." The "flop-haired" sophomore threw in 54, but it wasn't enough to overcome Vandy's balanced scoring in LSU's second straight home loss, 99-91. A key factor in the victory was the fact that Lamont, after scoring 14 in the first half, went scoreless in the second.
  16. February 3: @Kentucky
    The Cats celebrated "Adolph Rupp Day" by beating the Tigers for the second time in eight days, although by a smaller margin, 109-96, than in Baton Rouge. To answer the question that fans always asked in those days, How many did Pete score? 44, one below his average. Tribbett contributed 16. LSU chopped away at UK's 56-38 halftime bulget but fell one point short. Kentucky won the game in the first half, cutting it to eight with 6:02 to go but getting no closer.
  17. February 5: Tennessee
    The #6 Vols held LSU to a paltry 67 points, their lowest total of the season, in handing the Bengals their fourth straight defeat. Pete had to work hard to get 21 points, far below his average of 45.1. UT gained an insurmountable lead in the first half when they shot 51.4% to LSU's 28.6 to forge a 46-29 lead.
    Tennessee coach Ray Mears recalled: Press wanted Pete to be his glory boy, so I studied Pete. I put in a lot of time figuring out how to give him trouble. He put two physical defenders on Pete and even a third if necessary. You didn't have to worry about the other guys.
  18. February 7: @Auburn
    With eight games still to play, Maravich broke Pettit's record of 785 points in a season. With the game deadlocked at 32-32, Pete started the second half by scoring LSU's first 25 points en route to 49. But it wasn't enough as Auburn carved out a 74-69 win. Writers searching the NCAA record book were speculating that Pete was on pace to top Frank Selvy's game average of 41.7 set in the 1953-54 season.
  19. February 10: Florida
    Desperate to break their five-game losing streak, the Tigers clawed the Gators into OT. As in Gainesville earlier in the season, LSU had no answer for Walk, who scored 38. With Pete topping that figure by nine, the Bengals prevailed 93-92. Hickman contributed 22.
  20. February 12: Georgia
    Twelve missed FTs came back to haunt the Tigers, who lost by five (78-73). With LSU trailing 43-34 at the break, Pete staged a one-man charge by scoring eight straight FGs in 4:36. But that wasn't good enough to catch the Dogs. Maravich ended with 51 of his team's 73 points.
  21. February 17: @Alabama
    The largest basketball crowd in SEC history, 14,500, packed brand new Memorial Coliiseum (built with the profit from Bear Bryant's football teams) to watch the Pistol, who didn't disappoint them as he rang up 59 points to break his own SEC record. The Tigers spoiled the party by capturing the win, 99-89.
  22. February 19: @Mississippi State
    The LSU traveling circus rolled into Starkville to perform before an overflow crowd of 5,500. After scoring only 13 in the first half, Pete managed 21 in the final 30 minutes, and the Tigers won 94-83. 6'7" Steve Shumaker, a transfer from an Iowa JC, came off the bench to help with rebounding. The Associated Press report of the game included this passage: Excitement was added to the game by disturbing flashes from a photographer's camera when Maravich shot free throws. LSU Coach Press Maravich walked from the bench to the photographer and talked to him several times. Then the referees talked to both coaches and team captains and agreed to have the photographer stop taking pictures.
  23. February 21: Tulane
    The Advocate's Bernell Ballard started his report on the home matchup with the Greenies this way: Pete Maravich - LSU's Wonderful Wizard of Ahhs - poured in 55 points, became the first sophomore to score 1,000 points in a season in NCAA history, boosted his season total to 1,039 points, and led LSU to a 99-92 victory over Tulane before a packed audience of 8,800 cheering fans at the Cow Palace. The LSU Student Government Association presented Press Maravich with an award for "bringing basketball back to LSU."
    Coaches across the country had heard of the exploits of Pistol Pete, but not all sang his praises. Here's how an Associated Press article began:
    Is Pete Maravich a budding superstar, or is he simply the fastest gun in the west, north, east and south?
    College basketball coaches across the country are divided in their opinions of the ability of the floppy-haired basketball scoring sensation from Louisiana State University. Some coaches sing the praise of the teenager, whose point-making antics suddenly have caused basketball to rise from the depths to challenge football in popularity at the LSU campus. Many others, however, say Pistol Pete doesn't even rate as first-team all-conference, let alone being considered an All-American.
    Pete's critics point to his field goal shooting percentage as the real barometer of the boy's ability. "He's not even hitting 40 per cent," said one coach, who wishes to remain anonymous. "I have six guys on my team that could average over 40 points if they shot as much as Maravich." ...
    "A lot of people say Pete shoots so much because he has to carry the load due to not having much help," said another coach. "But if you'll study the statistics you'll see the rest of the LSU team is averaging well over 50 per cent from the field." ...
    "The only fault I see in Pete is that he shoots too many shots when he doesn't really have a shot," said another coach. "He undoubtedly has a world of ability and could be a bonafide All-American if he shot, say about 20 times a game. His scoring average would drop, but his percentage would jump.
    One pro-Pete coach cited special defense cooked up for Pete as the big reason the rest of the LSU team has such high shooting percentages. "Look at Ralph Jukkola ... He was a 41 percent shooter last season and is hitting over 65 per cent and leading the nation this year. Pete has set him up for numerous crips.
  24. February 24: @Ole Miss
    The sellout crowd of 8,500 that packed the Rebel Coliseum got what they came for - a chance to see amazing Pete in action and a victory by the home team. Maravich (40) and Hickman (31) combined for 71 points, but Ole Miss came from behind in the last minutes to pull out the 87-85 victory.
  25. March 2: @Tennessee
    Finishing the season on the road as always because of other events in the Ag Center, the Tigers lost to the Volunteers 74-71. Despite being held to a season-low 17 points, Maravich went into the NCAA record books twice. He clinched a better season average that Selvy's 41.7 and his 981 FG attempts broke the previous high of Bill Mlkvy of Temple in 1951. Pete fouled out of the "bitterly fought contest" with 8:02 remaining. The call brought Papa Press onto the floor to lodge a stern protest with referee Bill Henderson, who assessed a technical foul. UTthen scored a two-pointer on the ensuing possession. Those three points turned out to be the difference in the final score as the remaining Tigers cut down 63-49 to three. For the first time all season, Pete was not LSU's high scorer. That honor went to Jukkola and his 22 points.
    Maravich averaged 19 points against Tennessee his sophomore season and 45.8 against everyone else.
  26. March 4: @Vanderbilt
    11,094 showed up in 16-year-old Memorial Gym with its raised floor. With Lamont out with an injury, the Commodores outrebounded LSU by an astounding 73-42 margin on their way to an easy 115-86 triumph. Vandy took charge midway through the first half by outscoring the visitors 31-3. Maravich scored 42 points, 30 of them in the second half.

Pete ended the season with a 43.77 ppg average - a modern NCAA mark for future stars, including himself for two more years, to shoot for. However, he failed to pass Selvy for total points in a season, falling 71 points short (1,209 to 1,138).

The Tigers finished the season 14-12 to give LSU its first winning record since 1961-62.

Maravich made every All-America team.

  • He was named to the United Press International All-America team along with Elvin Hayes of Houston, Lew Alcindor of UCLA, Wes Unseld of Louisville, and Calvin Murphy of Niagara.
  • The Associated Press and National Association of Basketball Coaches teams had Larry Miller of North Carolina in place of Murphy but agreed with the UPI on the other four.
  • The Basketball Writers Association listed Pete on its ten-man team.

Ralph Jukkola

Jeff Tribbett

Rich Hickman

Neal Walk

Jukkola fights for rebound against Kentucky

Mike Leatherwood

Roy Skinner

Adolph Rupp

LSU @Kentucky action

Ray Mears

Read Curry Kirkpatrick's article on Pete in the March 4, 1968, Sports Illustrated.
Pete Maravich's Career at LSU - Junior Season

The two unanimous selections on the coaches' preseason All-SEC basketball team for 1968-69 were Pete Maravich and Florida C Neal Walk.

  • The coaches also agreed that Kentucky, as usual, was the team most likely to win the conference title.
  • The Wildcats received all but one first-place vote, Tennessee garnering the other - presumably from UK coach Adolph Rupp, who entered the season with the best winning % among coaches with at least 270 victories (.821 percentage to the .757 mark of UCLA's John Wooden).

Press Maravich welcomed back four of his five starters from 1967-68.

  • Gone was 6-8 C Randy Lamont, who would be replaced by another 6-8 player, Danny Hester. 6-7 junior Dave Ramsden also helped the rebounding corps.
  • Pete's other three cohorts returned - 6-0 Gs Rich Hickman and Jeff Tribbett, and 6-3 F Ralph Jukkola.
  • Hickman's 13.2ppg for the '67-68 seson was the highest average after Pete's 43.8. Jukkola had contributed 11.8 and led the team with 8.7 rebounds. Pete, at 6-5, was the second leading rebounders with 7.5 per contest.
  • Before the season began, the Pistol said he wasn't going after a repeat of his NCAA scoring title. "Let someone else have it. This year, I'm going to specialize in ball handling."

The schedule was challenging, with two conference games before Christmas.

  1. December 2, 1968: @Loyola
    He began his quest to overtake Bob Pettit as the school's all-time leading scorer with 52 points as the Tigers coasted, 109-82. Dan Hardesty started his account of the game in the Baton Rouge State Times Advocate like this: It's started again - the virtually impossible task of finding words to describe what Pete Maravich does on the basketball court. The Pistol, who played all 40 minutes, shot 22-of-34 from the field. Papa Press called it the greatest individual performance I've ever seen on a basketball court. In the last minutes, Pete treated the capacity crowd of 6,594 to some tricks that, according to Press, I didn't even know he could do. Charley Powell, one of seven Negro players on the Wolfpack team (as Hardesty felt constrained to point out), led the home team with 22 points. Hickman added 27 to the LSU total.
    This was the only game Pete played for LSU that I attended.
  2. December 7: @Clemson
    Press returned to the campus where he spent six years building the Clemson basketball program while Pete was in grade school. In fact, three players on the Clemson team were teammates of The Pistol on school and biddy squads. 9800 screaming fans watched the visiting Tigers squeeze past the ACC Tigers 86-85. The nip and tuck affair was not decided until the final minute when Pete sank both ends of a one-and-one. He seemed to be pressing in his return to his former stomping grounds, making only 10 of 32 FG atttempts. The final two FTs, which broke Pettit's school mark of 17 in a game, gave Pete 38 for the game. LSU won at the foul line, converting 28 freebies to Clemson's 15.
    A report out of Lexington KY said that Adolph Rupp would not swap his star Mike Casey straight-up for Pete Maravich. However, the same day UCLA Coach John Wooden called the Pistol as good a passer as anybody who's played the game.
  3. December 14: Tulane
    The Tigers hosted their archrivals from the Crescent City for their home opener. Press called the Green Wave, with three senior starters and five more fourth-year men on the bench, one of the best teams LSU would meet all season. Coach Maravich's praise proved to be well-founded as the visitors won a double-OT thriller 101-98 on John Sutter's follow-up basket a second before the final horn to silence the raucous crowd of 9,000 in the Parker Ag Center. The contest was marred by a free-for-all with 2:48 left in regulation time. The fracas began when Billy Fitzgerald shoved Jukkola, who passed the post on the Greenie to ignite a wild melee that required several sheriff's deputies to bring it under control. Pete finished with 55 - 20 FGs (on 48 attempts) and 15 FTs (with five misses). The Tigers were done in by their poor performance at the free throw stripe in OT, missing seven-of-nine, including all four in the second extra period.
  4. December 18: Florida
    LSU had to go OT for the second game in a row but this time escaped Gainesville with a 93-89 victory. Neither team scored in the first minute and 23 seconds of the extra stanza until Pete sank a driving shot off a steal and pass by little Rich Lupcho. Dave Ramsden got a layup a few seconds later, then Pete sank two FTs, and Ramsden added a FG for an eight-point lead with a minute left. That was enough to withstand a Gator flurry as the clock ticked down. Maravich ended the night with 45 points (17-of-32 from the field, 11-of-15 FTs). His fellow unanimous All-SEC preseason selection, Neal Walk, fouled out with 4:13 left in regulation after scoring 34.

    Rich Lupcho in a typical position, on the floor after a loose ball
  5. December 21: Georgia
    The Bulldogs left Baton Rouge with their first loss of the season, 98-89. LSU ovecame a seven-point deficit in the final 10 minutes led by - who else? - Pete Maravich with assistance from "hustling" Dave Ramsden. Pete canned 47 while Ramsden threw in 15 and turned in a fine effort against UGa's 6-11 Bob Lienhard. The Tigers shot a sizzling 56.3% of their FG tries. The Pistol, accused of shooting too much last season, sank 18 of 33 from the floor.
  6. December 27: Wyoming @Oklahoma City
    The Tigers left the day after Christmas for the eight-team All-College Tournament, the nation's oldest holiday festival (33 years). Bill Strannigan's 7-0 Cowboys featured a balanced scoring attack that had five players scoring in double figures twice and four tallying 10 or more two other times. 5500 fans traveled through a snowstorm to watch the Pistol's Traveling Road Show - 1500 more than the hometown team drew in its game that afternoon. Pete got off to a cold start, missing his first five shots and three FTs before hitting 10 of 11 jumpers to help LSU go to the locker room with a 47-42 edge. Strannigan assigned his top scorer, Harry Hall, to guard Maravich but that resulted in Hall committing four fouls before the break, then fouling out with 10:55 left in the game. With Ramsden leading both sides with 17 boards, LSU added a point to their advantage in the back-and-forth second half to win 84-78. Pistol's final totals read 14 FG, 17 FT, 45 points.
    After the game, Press Maravich mentioned an incident that happened on his way into the arena. A lady dropped a penny at the coach's feet. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. He quickly explained that he was a coach and hoped the penny would bring him good luck. He gave her a nickel instead. Assistant coach Jay McCreary told the head man, "Look, you can have the penny. Just give me that son of yours."
  7. December 28: @Oklahoma City
    The Tigers broke open a tight game late to take a 101-85 winners' bracket contest against the host Stars before a near-capacity crowd of 8850. After being held to 37 points to trail by one at intermission, LSU poured in 64 in the second 20 minutes. Pete scored "only" 40 but had help from Tribbett with 25 (a career high) and Hickman with 24. Coach Press gushed, "That has to be the best half I've ever seen an LSU team play. Tribbett played his finest ballgame, and Ramsden and Jukkola hit the boards real well." The Bengals topped the 50% mark in shooting for the second straight night, hitting 52% to run their record to 6-1. OCU coach Abe Lemons, one of the wittiest characters in basketball history, had only this to say about Pete: "He's the greatest."
  8. December 30: Duquesne @ Oklahoma City
    After resting on Sunday, LSU took on Duquesne in the championship game. The Dukes from Press's home area of Pittsburgh upset nationally-ranked St. Bonaventure in the semifinals. Press proclaimed, "It's to our advantage to be an underdog. I'm glad Duquesne is picked to win." The#15 team in the AP poll carried a big height advantage into the contest. G Jarrett Durham had played ball on the same high school team with Rich Hickman in Aliquippa PA (Pete's birthplace). Most of the 9,000 fans who jammed State Fair Arena to set an attendance record cheered for the Tigers during a sizzling game that went down to the wire. The first half ended with LSU holding 48-46 advantage. But Duquesne quickly jumped out in front when play resumed and gradually increased their lead to 11, 75-64, with eight minutes to go. That's when Pete took over, scoring 18 of LSU's last 22 points, the other four coming on four pressure-packed FTs by Danny Hester. The Tigers finally pulled ahead 90-89 with 2:05 left only to have the Dukes retake the lead with 45 seconds on the clock. Shortly afterward, Hester sank two FTs to make it 92-91 LSU. Then Pete intercepted a full-court pass and was fouled with 0:07 left. He sank both, points 52 and 53, to ice the 94-91 victory. The box score showed 28 points at the line for the Tigers to just 11 for the Dukes. To no one's surprise, the Pistol won the MVP award after leading the tournament in scoring with 138 points. The champion Tigers had no one else on the all-tourney first team, but Hickman made the second team.
    Pete: When it was over, the nation's leading defensive team had been stunned. Coming into the game against LSU, Duquesne had only allowed 52 points per game. With the help of my teammates, I scored 53 - 32 coming in the second half.
  9. January 4, 1969: @Alabama
    The Tigers didn't have much time to enjoy their title as they faced three straight SEC road games. First came the Crimson Tide, whose program was being rebuilt by C. M. Newton, a player/disciple of Adolph Rupp. A crowd of 10,146 plus a regional TV audience watched the home team hold off repeated comeback bids by the Tigers in the second half. LSU outscored Bama 43-39 in the second half, but that wasn't enough to overcome the 46-39 halftime deficit. Pete connected on 19 of 49 FG attempts - well below his .484 shooting % coming into the fray - for 42 points. But the next highest Bengal was Hester with only 12.
  10. January 9: @Vanderbilt
    The Commodores "held" Pete to 38 points on 15-of-30 FG shooting while their Tom Hagan canned 32 to sparked the 94-92 victory before 11,000 in Memorial Gym. Hagan, who had only 12 points at the half, sank seven straight FTs in the final five minutes to offset Pete canning LSU's final eight points. But the biggest factor for the Dores was their 46-29 rebounding advantage and the 22 turnovers they forced. Press Maravich was upset by a technical foul called on him with 1:40 left in the game and LSU trailing 88-85. Pete went up for a layup but officials ruled that the shot was blocked. In a radio interview afterward, Press said, I would get a thousand technicals like the one at the end of the game. That was ridiculous. They knocked Pete to the floor and those two guys gave Vanderbilt the ball.
  11. January 11: @Auburn
    The Blue and Orange Tigers handed the Purple and Gold Tigers their third straight loss, 90-71, before 11,166 in Auburn's new Memorial Coliseum. LSU was hampered by the loss of Tribbett to an ankle injury late in the first half. Once again, the Bengals were outrebounded badly, 50-30, and Pete received little help in the scoring column with no one else adding more than six points to his 46. A two-week break for semester exams came a good time for the ailing Bengals.
  12. January 25: Kentucky
    Of all opponents to meet to end a three-game losing streak, the mighty #5 Wildcats were the worst choice. Add the fact that the Tigers were minus two starters, Tribbett (ankle sprain) and Hickman (bad back), and you have a recipe for disaster. However, it's hard to call the 108-96 that considering the situation. To make matters worse, Pete played with a painful growth on his heel which caused him to move gingerly in the early going. He nevertheless managed to sink 52 points, 32 in the second half. But the Tigers' bugaboo, rebounding, bit them again as the Cats, led by Dan Issel's 17, took down 62 to LSU's 46. Ramsden contributed 24 points and 14 points to LSU's cause. The Tigers trailed 45-35 at the break after shooting just 29.8% from the floor.
  13. January 27: Tennessee
    The Tigers went from the fire into the frying pan with the Volunteers in town. After holding Pete to his lowest totals in his sophomore year, 17 and 21, the Vols' physical defense again put the clamps on him. Pete scored a mere 21 points (8 FGs, 5 FTs) to hand LSU their fifth straight loss, 81-68. Coach Maravich came off the bench numerous times to argue with the officials. The game was interrupted in the last minutes when the crowd pelted the playing floor with ice and other debris. With less than a minute to play, the officials called a technical foul against the Bengals for the fans' behavior after Maravich was called for his fifth foul. That brought another deluge of ice and paper cups. The refs were escorted off the floor by local deputies "amid the hoots and catcalls of the fans who showed their displeasure by throwing debris until the officials left the playing area." UT Coach Ray Mears described his "Chinese defense" as a zone with two men concentrating on Maravich. "It takes more than one guy to stop him."

    Ramsden and Jukkola vs Tennessee
    Despite the clamp down by Tennessee, Pete easily led the nation in scoring with a 44.2 average.
  14. January 31: Pittsburgh
    Enjoying an advantage for a change in height, speed, shooting, and quickness, the Tigers ended their losing streak against the Panthers, 120-79. With an SEC game the next night, Press gave his starters (except Pete) some rest and benchwarmers a chance to enjoy themselves. Maravich scored 40 with 11 assists but, as the margin increased, began to take "all sorts of wild chances with his passing and shooting" to finish with 15 turnovers. Altogether, the ragged game produced 39 turnovers. The Tigers made 17 layups, mostly on fast breaks after stealing the ball.

    Pete surrounded by Pitt defenders.
  15. February 1: Ole Miss
    The SEC losing streak reached six thanks to a heartbreaking 84-81 OT loss to the Rebels. With Pete playing with a twisted knee, Senior F Ken Turner outscored him 36-31 to spark the road win. The regular game ended 77-all as LSU's Rusty Bergman lost a race with the final buzzer by a split second on what could have been the winning dunk.
  16. February 3: Mississippi State
    Playing their third game in four days, the Tigers finally scored their third SEC victory with a 95-71 thumping of the Bulldogs before just 7,500 in the Ag Center. For the second time in the season, all five LSU starters scoredin double figures. Pete led, of course, with 33, followed by Tribbett (18), Hester (17), Jukkola (14), and Ramsden (13).
  17. February 8: Alabama
    With a much-needed four day respite, the Tigers got revenge on the Tide for the loss in Tuscaloosa before 9300, the largest home turnout of the season. LSU started strong, building a 17-point lead with 4:10 left in the first half. But the visitors fought back, and LSU had to go to a stall offense in the final six minutes to preserve the 81-75 victory. Bama tied the score twice in the second half at 71 and 73. Playing with a strained knee, wrenched back, and bad heel, a battered, limping Maravich tossed in the two go-ahead points from the foul line on his way to 38 points. Down the stretch, the Tigers sank 8 of 10 freebies. Ramsden went 7-for-7 on FGs to finish with 16 points.
  18. February 10: @Tulane
    Wearing a "bandage longer than his list of records wrapped around his knee and hobbling on an ailing ankle," Pete scored 66 points but it wasn't enough as the Tigers fell to the Green Wave for a second time, 110-94. The performance erased Bob Pettit's 60 points against Louisiana College in 1954 as the highest total for an SEC player in a non-conference game. Coach Maravich, unhappy with the scheduling of Tulane in the midst of the SEC campaign, summed up the loss this way. Our defense fell apart. Completely apart. Any time you score 94 points in regulation time, you should have enough points to beat anybody. ... When you're not keyed up for a game, it shows most on defense.
  19. February 12: @Florida
    The Gators turned the tables on the Tigers from the December loss in Baton Rouge, 95-79. In the first game, LSU shot a sizzling 58% from the floor to the Gators' 37.55. But in Gainesville, UF hit 48% to 31% for the Tigers. Pete scored 50, and he set SEC records for both FTs shot (27) and made (22). No other Tiger canned more than 9. As in December, Neal Walk tallied 34 but added 22 rebounds.
  20. February 15: Auburn
    LSU gained another revenge victory over a team from Alabama, 93-81. Maravich tallied 54 to become the first player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 points in his first two years of eligibility. The consummate showman, Pete sank a backhanded shot at the halftime horn for his 30th point of the game to reach the 2,000 plateau. In addition, he surpassed Pettit's career total.
    The pregame clash between the LSU and Auburn freshmen provided encouraging news for Pete's senior year. C Apple Sanders poured in 53 points and helped the Bengals outrebound the visiting Baby Tigers by a whopping 74-36.
  21. February 17: Vanderbilt
    The Commodores earned their second two-point victory of the season over the Tigers, this time 85-83, "in a wild contest that found the Bengals' scoring star, Pete Maravich, being ushered out of competition with 1:52 left in the game." The expulsion came after Pete tried to drive along the baseline to the basket when he was knocked to the floor out of bounds. Instead of calling a foul, Umpire Joe Caldwell awarded the ball to Vandy. The Tiger star jumped up and accosted Caldwell and "squared off" as if to throw a punch against the official, who called a technical foul and ejected Pete. Vanderbilt led 84-81 at the time and, without their leader, the Tigers could not overcome the deficit despite the fact that the Commodores finished the game making just one FT in six attempts. Pete's 35 points moved him ahead of Bailey Howell's career scoring mark of 2,030 for Mississippi State.
  22. February 22: @Kentucky
    The Tigers battled "an erratic" Wildcat five for 25 minutes before being undone by their own floor errors and falling 103-89. The Tigers led 47-46 at halftime in what was believed to be the first-ever halftime lead by LSU in Lexington. The key to that accomplishment was the rebounding work of Hester, Ramsden, and Jukkola which gave the Bengals a 26-23 advantage at the break. But Dan Issel led the Cats to a domination on the boards in the second half to finish with a 63-55 advantage. Pete sank 45 points (21 FG, 3 FT) to leave him just 34 points short of becoming the first NCAA player to score 1,000 points in two different seasons.
  23. February 24: @Tennessee
    The SEC's paired scheduling sent the Tigers to Knoxville two nights after their visit to Lexington. A standing-room-only crowd of nearly 13,000 saw the Vols' "Chinese defense" once again bottle up the nation's leading scorer, holding Pete to 20. The Tigers may have played their worst first half ever, sinking only nine of 30 shots, while the Volunteers could not miss to race to a 49-24 lead. The Tigers reduced the deficit by only one point in the second half of the 87-63 loss.
  24. March 1: @Ole Miss
    The hardluck Tigers suffered their fourth straight defeat thanks to Ken Turner's jumper at the final buzzer, 78-76. Led by Pete's 49 points, LSU led most of the second half. A big factor in the defeat was the visitors shooting just three FTs in the second half while Ole Miss made 12-of-16. So LSU lost despite making eight more FGs than their hosts. With the game tied at 76 with 2:30 remaining, LSU went into its delay game until Press called time with 0:17 left. The strategy backfired when the ball was knocked out of Hickman's hands to give the Rebels possession. After a timeout, Turner's shot from the corner went cleanly through the net as time expired.
  25. March 3: @Mississippi State
    At 11-13 for the season, the Tigers had to win their final two games on the road to break even. They took care of business against the Bulldogs, 99-89, for their first SEC road win of the season. Needing to average 52 points in the last two contests to duplicate his scoring average of his sophomore year, Pete beat that goal by three. The Maroons "battered him around quite a bit" to keep him from shooting. Hester grabbed 22 rebounds to help the Tigers gain a rare edge in that department, 54-42.
  26. March 8: @Georgia
    Aided by playing two OT periods, Pete broke his own national season scoring record with 58 points in the 90-80 triumph. The Tigers erased a 59-44 deficit as Pete scored 13 straight in a surge that deadlocked the game at 70. Another goal at the buzzer stunned the Tigers, this one by Jerry Epling, but it only tied the game at 72. The first OT ended 78-all when Pete flipped in a basket with six seconds left. Then he scored eight straight points in the second OT while the Bulldogs tallied just two FTs.
    Pete: If the season had to be capsulized by one moment, it would be the shot that occurred in the final game of the 1968-69 season against Georgia. The clock was running down the final minute of the second overtime, and since we had the lead I had fun running out the clock by dribbling through the Georgia defenders. After a few seconds, the partial Georgia crowd were on their feet clapping for me. With seven seconds left, I dribbled toward the corner of half court; and with three seconds to go, I let fly a hook shot and began walking toward the dressing room. The ball hit nothing but net. I was congratulated by the Georgia team and carried off the floor by the Georgia cheerleaders! The game wasn't televised or filmed so there is no video record of the night. The length of my 45' hook shot has grown through the years, making for better folklore. People still refer to it as "that hook shot."

Pete ended the season with 1148 points, ten more than in 1967-68.

  • His FG % increased from .423 to .444.
  • He also registered 23 more assists.
  • With better board men on his front line, his rebounds declined by 26 to 169.
  • Considering the injuries that plagued him, it was by all measures

Not surprisingly, Maravich made every All-America team.

  • His cohorts on the AP squad were UCLA's Lew Alcindor, Spencer Haywood of Detroit, Jo Jo White of Kansas, and Rick Mount of Purdue.
  • The AP article called Pete "a harsh critic of his own performances." This year, I think I've played only about three good games. Last year, I told my dad I played only two good games. ... Actually, I have shot a lot less this season. I've hit a better percentage and broken my assist record. All in all, I guess it's been a pretty good year.
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.
    Pete: At the half, we led the game 53-40, and I went into the locker room with 25 points. ... I just wanted to get it over. I was never concerned with personal records. Playing to the best of my God-given ability was my attitude and motivation. As I head for the door, Dad took me by the arm and said, "Keep your mind on the game." ...
    With 7:50 left in the game, I brought the ball down the court and pulled up to hit a fifteen-footer. The shot tied Oscar Robertson's record. ... I was only one shot away, but the next three minutes seemed like dorever. On the next four Tiger possessions he shot wasn't there or I failed to convert. The fans and I had taken just about all we could by the time I came down for my fifth attempt. "One, one, one," the crowd shouted in unison as I dribbled down court. I launched myself from the hardwood floor 23' from the goal. High in the air, and almost fully extended, I flicked my wrist sending the ball up and through the hoop. ...
    In the locker room, I tried to put into words my feelings about the night. "This is the greatest honor of my life," I said ... "Oscar Robertson is the greatest player ever, and I'm really fortunate to break his record." ... Dad was so proud he could have lit up the room all alone with his beaming countenance. ...
    Accolades from all over the country poured in ... One telegram read, Dear Pete, You can take great pride in your recent efforts which have established you as the leading scorer in major college basketball history. I just want you to know the Nixons are among your fans saluting this success. Congratulations! With best wishes, Sincerely, Richard Nixon.
  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.
    Pete: Playing in New York and Madison Square Garden was the highight of my college basketball career. I had always liked New York basketball fans and admired their knowledge and love for the game.
    After the Marquette loss, I dragged my worn body back to the hotel room. My legs were likke rubber, and my body was bruised and scratched from the beating we had taken on the court. ... Several of my friends came over. I locked the door, and we relaxed with a six-pack of beer. ... The party continued into the night and I got totally wasted. ... When morning broke, I could hardly keep my bloodshot eyes open.

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