By Kevin Sweeney
In the storied Army-Navy rivalry, there is no greater honor than having your school’s alma mater be played second.
With 42 seconds to play, it seemed impossible that Navy’s alma mater wouldn’t come second, but a furious final-minute comeback threw a wrench into those plans.
However, the Midshipmen recovered by in overtime, dominating the extra period 21-5 en route to a 96-80 victory, their 5th in the last 6 meetings of the rivalry. Shawn Anderson led the way with a career-high 30 points for the Midshipmen.
While it was Navy that seemed in control in the closing minutes of regulation, Army led most of the afternoon. The Black Knights never trailed in the first half, taking a 37-30 lead into intermission. However, Navy bursted out of the gates to start the second half, using an 8-0 run in the first minute and a half to take a 38-37 lead.
Army recovered nicely, though with a stretch of threes on 3 consecutive possessions stretching the Black Knight lead to six with 11:35 to play.
The next 10 minutes of the game were all Navy. After a Kennedy Edwards layup gave Army a 56-50 lead, Navy went on what appeared to be a game-sealing 20-4 run that gave the Midshipmen a 70-60 advantage with 42 seconds to play. Wing Bryce Dulin made several huge plays during the stretch, getting seemingly every rebound and scoring a few key buckets. Dulin had 21 points and 17 rebounds in the contest.
Army put on one of the more improbable comebacks of the college basketball season, scoring 15 points in the final 42 seconds to tie the ballgame. A pair of 3’s by Edwards were straddled by turnovers by Navy’s Hassan Abdullah, as Army cut the deficit to just 3, with the ball, with 10 seconds to go.
Navy fouled, and Thomas Funk made both free throws. After Anderson went 1-2 from the foul line at the other end, Army inbounded to Jordan Fox, who was double-teamed at the top of the key. He alertly found Funk for a layup as time expired, sending the game to overtime and the Christl Arena crowd into a frenzy.
Here’s student section footage of the buzzer-beater, courtesy of @ArmyWP_MBB on Twitter:
The Black Knights drew first blood in overtime, but were unable to keep their momentum. Navy was unstoppable on the offensive end during the extra period, while Army couldn’t get anything to fall.
Anderson, Abdullah, and Dulin combined for 72 of the Midshipmen’s 96 points. Edwards led the charge for Army with 20 points, while Funk added 16.
Navy returns to action Wednesday at American, while Army travels to Boston U for a matchup with the Terriers the same day.