50 years later, fans in attendance remember 'Pistol Pete's' record-breaking night
BATON ROUGE - January 31, 1970. LSU versus Ole Miss. It was a basketball game 13-year-old Sam Muffoletto was determined to attend.
"I practically went to every basketball game at the old 'cow palace,' which of course was the agricultural center," Muffoletto, a former sportswriter, said.
This game stood out to Muffoletto because of Tigers' star 'Pistol Pete' Maravich.
"Of course they knew that night against Ole Miss on the 31st of January, that [Maravich] was more than likely, he only needed 25 points to break the record," Muffoletto said.
However, there was one problem.
"Tickets...just couldn't be come by," Muffoletto said.
By Saturday afternoon, Muffoletto's luck had turned. His best friend, Louis Herthum's uncle, Harold Herthum, gave them two tickets.
"We thought we'd be sitting up in the rafters," Muffoletto said. "We were six rows up, midcourt, in just the best seats in the house."
As Maravich inched closer to the NCAA scoring record, Muffoletto and Herthum managed to make their way onto the court. That's when Louis pulled out a camera and started snapping pictures.
"I remember Louis turning to me and saying, 'Sam I think I'm going to run out of film. I don't think I'm going to have enough,'" Muffoletto said. "But he did and finally the next trip down the court, Pete hit it."
Herthum managed to capture the shot that sent Maravich into the record books and sent fans, Sam and Louis included, onto the court.
"That's me right there," Muffoletto said pointing to a picture from the game. "Once he made the shot, it just went wild in there and of course they weren't holding back anybody."
Five decades later, Muffoletto still looks back at the photos, his autographed game program, game ticket and even the jacket he wore to the game. He says they take him back to the moment.
"When I look back 50 years later and I see a blurry picture of myself and Louis on the floor, it's just a great childhood memory," Muffoletto said.
Today, 'Pistol Pete's' record still stands. Muffoletto, now well past 13-years-old, thinks it's one that will never be broken.
"Guys that are of his caliber don't stay more than two years, some not even two years," Muffoletto said. "So for somebody to stay that long and get that many points and average 40 points a game, no!"