TIPOFF: NCAA records within reach for Detroit Mercy’s Davis


By STEVE MEGARGEE - AP Sports Writer



FILE - Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan (20) drives against Yale forward Isaiah Kelly during the first half of an NCAA Ivy League men's college basketball championship game on March 13, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass. Although he’s a 6-foot-8 forward, Evbuomwan led the Ivy League in assists last season with 5.1 per game. He was named the Ivy player of the year. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)

FILE - Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan (20) drives against Yale forward Isaiah Kelly during the first half of an NCAA Ivy League men's college basketball championship game on March 13, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass. Although he’s a 6-foot-8 forward, Evbuomwan led the Ivy League in assists last season with 5.1 per game. He was named the Ivy player of the year. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)


FILE - Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis (0) brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 30, 2019. Davis enters the 2022-23 season as one of the most noteworthy players from mid-major or low-major programs. His 429 career 3-pointers put him just 80 away from the Division I record. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)


FILE - Roberts' Max Abmas (3) lays up between Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr. (4) and E.J. Liddell (32) during the second half of a first round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament on March 19, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Abmas burst onto the scene in 2021 when he averaged 26.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games to help Oral Roberts beat Ohio State and Florida before falling to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin, File)


Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis has a chance to end his career as one of the most prolific scorers and 3-point shooters in college basketball history.

Davis is more concerned with earning the NCAA Tournament berth that has eluded him thus far.

The 6-foot-1 Davis entered the transfer portal during the offseason but opted to play one more season for his father. Mike Davis took over Detroit Mercy after reaching the NCAA Tournament four of his six seasons at Texas State, but he still hasn’t earned a bid at his current school.

“I experienced it for myself as a spectator but not as a player,” Antoine Davis said as he recalled those years watching his father coach Texas State. “It’s been rough, but I look forward to this season. We’re all on the same page. Everybody wants to do the same thing. I think we can make it happen.”

Reaching the NCAA Tournament is just about the only thing Antoine Davis has failed to accomplish in his stellar college career. He enters the 2022-23 season as one of the most noteworthy players from mid-major or low-major programs.

Davis has scored 2,734 career points to rank 22nd in Division I history. He was the third-leading Division I scorer last season with 23.9 points per game, and that was actually the lowest average of his career. Davis averaged 26.1 points in 2018-19, 24.3 in 2019-20 and 24.0 in 2020-21.

If Davis matches his output from last season, when he scored 694 points, he would end his career second on the all-time list. Pete Maravich owns the record with the 3,667 points he scored in his three-season career at LSU from 1967-70.

His 429 career 3-pointers put him just 80 away from the Division I record. Fletcher Magee made 509 3-pointers at Wofford from 2015-19.

Davis has scored in double figures in 111 consecutive games. The Division I record of 115 is shared by Campbell’s Chris Clemons (2016-19) and La Salle’s Lionel Simmons (1987-90).

The extra season of eligibility Davis received due to the pandemic has helped him approach those records. It also gives him an opportunity to become a five-time, first-team all-Horizon League selection. Davis already is the first player ever to earn first-team all-Horizon League honors in four separate seasons.

Davis committed to Houston in high school but changed his mind and opted for Texas State to play for his father, who owns a 397-310 career record and coached Indiana to an NCAA Tournament final in 2002. When his dad took the Detroit Mercy job, Davis ended up enrolling there instead.

“He knows my game better than anybody else,” Davis said. “He’s been working me out for years and years. He just knows what I can do and everything. It wouldn’t have to be anything different. I knew his system for the most part, and I really wanted to play for him, at the end of the day.”

He thought about leaving Detroit Mercy and the Horizon League this year. Davis entered the transfer portal and strongly considered BYU and Kansas State before choosing to finish his college career where he started it.

“It would feel a little off playing somewhere else or ending my career somewhere else,” Davis said. “That’s what ultimately made me come back.”

Some other players from mid-major or low-major programs who bear watching:

MAX ABMAS, ORAL ROBERTS

Abmas burst onto the scene in 2021 when he averaged 26.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games to help Oral Roberts beat Ohio State and Florida before falling to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. He led Division I with 24.5 points per game that season. Abmas followed that up by averaging 22.8 points last season to rank fifth. His 3.8 3-pointers per game ranked third.

SINCERE CARRY, KENT STATE

Carry, a Duquesne transfer, was the Mid-American Conference’s player of the year in his first season at Kent State. The 6-1 guard ranked second in the MAC in assists (4.8) and fifth in scoring (17.9) and made the MAC’s all-defensive team.

AARON ESTRADA, HOFSTRA

The Oregon transfer was the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year last season in his first year at Hofstra. Estrada led the CAA in scoring (18.5) and assists (5.0) and also had 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.

TOSAN EVBUOMWAN, PRINCETON

Although he’s a 6-foot-8 forward, Evbuomwan actually led the Ivy League in assists last season with 5.1 per game. He was named the Ivy player of the year. Evbuomwan, who is from Newcastle, England, also ranked fourth in the league in scoring (16.0), rebounding (6.7) and steals (1.4).

DARIUS McGHEE, LIBERTY

McGhee has been named ASUN player of the year each of the last two seasons. He averaged 24.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 2021-22. He led all Division I players with 142 3-pointers and ranked second in points per game.

JORDAN “JELLY” WALKER, UAB

After starting his career at Seton Hall and playing two seasons at Tulane, Walker has found a home at UAB. Walker ranked eighth in Division I in 3-pointers per game (3.41) and 16th in points per game (20.3) last season while leading Conference USA in both categories. He was named Conference USA player of the year.

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FILE – Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan (20) drives against Yale forward Isaiah Kelly during the first half of an NCAA Ivy League men’s college basketball championship game on March 13, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass. Although he’s a 6-foot-8 forward, Evbuomwan led the Ivy League in assists last season with 5.1 per game. He was named the Ivy player of the year. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130056154-176192ad3b104f5da875cbe020eb7287.jpgFILE – Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan (20) drives against Yale forward Isaiah Kelly during the first half of an NCAA Ivy League men’s college basketball championship game on March 13, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass. Although he’s a 6-foot-8 forward, Evbuomwan led the Ivy League in assists last season with 5.1 per game. He was named the Ivy player of the year. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)

FILE – Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis (0) brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 30, 2019. Davis enters the 2022-23 season as one of the most noteworthy players from mid-major or low-major programs. His 429 career 3-pointers put him just 80 away from the Division I record. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130056154-6f1d531e599d40ddabea302ac6279818.jpgFILE – Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis (0) brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 30, 2019. Davis enters the 2022-23 season as one of the most noteworthy players from mid-major or low-major programs. His 429 career 3-pointers put him just 80 away from the Division I record. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

FILE – Roberts’ Max Abmas (3) lays up between Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. (4) and E.J. Liddell (32) during the second half of a first round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament on March 19, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Abmas burst onto the scene in 2021 when he averaged 26.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games to help Oral Roberts beat Ohio State and Florida before falling to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130056154-c1344fdc192a40dda4d23c7af0e8bfd4.jpgFILE – Roberts’ Max Abmas (3) lays up between Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. (4) and E.J. Liddell (32) during the second half of a first round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament on March 19, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Abmas burst onto the scene in 2021 when he averaged 26.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games to help Oral Roberts beat Ohio State and Florida before falling to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin, File)

By STEVE MEGARGEE

AP Sports Writer