‘Pistol’ Pete’s Eye-popper

LSU’s Maravich poured in 69 points, riled up Alabama fans in record-setting 1970 loss at Memorial Coliseum

 

 

It was a chilly day on Feb. 7, 1970, when Louisiana State great “Pistol” Pete Maravich roasted the Alabama Crimson Tide with a performance for the ages and sent tempers soaring in the process.

Maravich poured in a Southeastern Conference record 69 points against Alabama, though the jam-packed crowd in Memorial Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, which sat in absolute awe of No. 23’s dominance throughout, still went home happy as the Tide prevailed 106-104.

Without the help of a shot clock or a three-point basket, neither of which the NCAA had instituted at the time, Maravich broke a conference scoring mark that had stood for 21 years. After scoring 22 first-half points, a game’s worth for most folks, Maravich put up 47 in the second en route to the record.

Photo courtesy LSU Athletics

Jimmy Hollon had 30 points as the Crimson Tide barely held off the Tigers that memorable day. What happened afterwards is not quite as well remembered, however.

The story goes that Maravich misinterpreted a celebratory gesture from a random photographer as a shove and retaliated. Regardless of how the ensuring “brawl” began, soon some Alabama football players and Crimson Tide fans had made their way onto the court to confront Maravich and his Tiger teammates. Luckily, the skirmish was resolved without any injuries being reported on either side.

“They were riding us pretty hard the whole game,” said Danny Hester of the court-side Alabama football players. Hester was ejected from the game. 

Over his three-year college career, “Pistol” Pete scored 3,667 points and averaged an astonishing 44.2 points per game. Nearly 50 years later, Maravich still holds many NCAA scoring marks, including the No. 1 spot on the all-time leading scorers list.

It was his hot hand on a cold day in Tuscaloosa for which many Crimson Tiders, including guard Bobby Lynch, will always remember Maravich.

Lynch had the impossible task of guarding the “Pistol,” and of all people, his wife never let him forget it. According to Yahoo! Sports, Lynch’s wife for years kept a 30-inch x 40-inch photo of her husband trying to guard Maravich that day on the wall of a frame shop they owned. The caption read: “Bob held him to 69 points.”

Apparently “Pistol” Pete’s performance burned in their memories for a lifetime as well. H&A

All images courtesy LSU Athletics. 

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