Black Knights Complete Historic Comeback Win

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – The Army Black Knights captured a nearly improbable victory, erasing a 27-point deficit, en route to a nail-biting 74-73 overtime win versus rival Navy on Saturday.

The contest had resemblance from the teams’ encounter on February 18, 2017, when Army rallied from a 25-point deficit with 13 minutes remaining to upend the Mids, 71-68, in Annapolis for the largest comeback win in the series history. The 2021-22 edition of the Black Knights erased a 27-point deficit which is tied for the sixth-biggest comeback win in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history.

Army, which has now won four of the last five meetings with its rival, faced a 27-point first-half deficit with four minutes remaining in the opening period and trailed by 22 points with 11:46 left in regulation.

The road to the comeback began with 10 straight points, started by a Jared Cross layup; Cross, who missed the previous six games, also added a triple during the run. Aaron Duhart scored a layup to cut the lead to 55-45 with 5:45 on the clock as part of a 14-2 run.

Trailing 57-45, the Black Knights scored eight straight points in 55 seconds. Duhart hit a jumper in the paint, followed by five straight points by Chris Mann. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jalen Rucker and Josh Caldwell cut Navy’s lead to 60-59 with three minutes remaining in the second half. Mann, who led all scorers with a career-high 20 points, made it three straight triples by Army as he gave the Black Knights their first lead of the game at 62-60 with 2:58 left in regulation. A free throw by Charlie Peterson capped the 10-2 run as Army led 63-60 with two minutes on the clock.

After Navy tied the game at 63-63 heading into the final minute of regulation, Rucker made two free throws to put Army ahead, 65-63, with 48 seconds left. Navy tied the score on its next possession, setting up one more possession for the Black Knights to win in regulation, However, Duhart’s floater rimmed out as the game went into overtime.

There were five lead changes in the overtime period. Mann started the scoring with a layup 17 seconds into the extra period. The Mids scored four straight points, followed by three straight by the Black Knights. Navy, then, took a 73-70 lead with one minute left after scoring four straight points.

Mann was fouled with 39 seconds on the clock and he made both of his free throws to cut the lead to 73-72. On the ensuing Navy possession, the pressure defense by the Cadets forced a turnover at halfcourt when Mann picked off the pass and his outlet toss to Rucker for a layup led to the game-winning points.

Army made one more defensive stand in the final seconds. Charlie Peterson blocked Greg Summers’ layup with one second on the clock. The Black Knights, then, broke up Navy’s inbound pass as time expired.

The Mids jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead behind a 7-0 run. The lead ballooned to 34-9 as part of an 18-0 run as Navy was shooting at an 80 percent clip for the half. Navy had its largest lead at 38-11 with four minutes remaining in the half, before the Black Knights closed the first half on a 7-2 run to trail 40-18 at the break.

Army will play its second straight road game on Wednesday, January 26 versus Lehigh at 7 p.m.

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