Army Rallies for Star Game Win over Navy
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Army West Point men's basketball team (11-17, 5-11 PL) rallied from a 25-point second-half deficit to stun Navy (15-13, 10-6 PL) in the annual Star Game, 71-68, in a sold-out Alumni Hall (5,710) on Saturday afternoon. Army snapped Navy's three-year Star Game winning streak.
Navy built a 54-29 lead with 12:51 left in the second half before Army stormed back with a 33-8 run over 10 minutes to even the game at 62-62. Army made 12 straight field goals at one stretch during the comeback.
Navy's Bryce Dulin hit a 3-pointer to stop Army's run and give the Mids a three-point lead at 65-62 before Army's Jordan Fox made a layup. Navy's Hasan Abdullah then scored late in the shot clock after driving through the lane to put the Mids up three. On Army's ensuing possession, it appeared that Navy freshman Evan Wieck had drawn an offensive charge on Army's John Emezie, but the officials would consult and deem it a blocking foul on Wieck and Emezie made both free throws to cut Navy's margin to 67-66 with 36 seconds left.
Navy came up empty on its next possession before Fox drilled his fifth 3-pointer to put the Black Knights up by two points with 19 seconds left. Navy's Shawn Anderson drew a foul with 10.5 seconds left, but made one of two free throws. Navy then sent Tommy Funk to the line, who made one of two to push Army's lead back to two points.
Abdullah missed a runner coming down the middle of the lane with two seconds left that would have tied the game at 70-70. Army got the defensive rebound and after getting fouled, Mac Hoffman made one free throw. Tim Abruzzo's full-court game-tying 3-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer.
"It was a very disappointing loss," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We had the game in hand. Our defensive effort in the last 12 minutes was horrendous. Our transition defense was bad and our half-court defense was bad. And that was after we had already played pretty good defense for the first 30 minutes. The momentum changed and we could never get it back and we made some critical mistakes down the stretch."
Navy held Army to just 29 points in the first 27:09 of the game, but then gave up 42 points in the final 12:51 of the contest.
Navy has been in control of the game, leading by nine points at halftime before building its lead to 25 points. Navy opened the game on a 7-0 spurt and used a 12-0 run spanning both halves to go up 19 points at 45-26 early in the second.
Navy pushed the lead to 25 points after Bryce Dulin scored on a layup, but Army's Hoffman scored just 11 seconds later and the Black Knights were off and running. Army switched from man-to-man to a zone defense during the run, which gave Navy problems offensively. Army knocked down five 3-pointer during the big run, getting two apiece from Fox and Funk.
The 25-point comeback was the largest comeback in Army-Navy history and was also the largest lead blown in a loss in any game in Navy program history.
Fox made 5-of-9 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 22 points. He also dished out seven assists. Funk scored 14 points with six assists and Hoffman posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Abdullah scored a team-high 18 points for the Mids and also had five rebounds. Anderson scored 12 points and junior Tom Lacey overcame early foul trouble to finish with 11 points and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes. Dulin tallied nine points and a team-best six assists.
In the second half alone, Army scored 47 points and shot 63 percent from the floor. For the game, Army outshot Navy 48 percent to 42 percent, but Army was 10-of-24 on 3-pointers (42 percent), while Navy was just 3-of-17 from distance (18 percent).
Navy has already assured itself of at least a top-six finish in the Patriot League and will receive a bye into the quarterfinal round of the league tournament. Navy remains in third place in the Patriot League as the rest of the conference will play on Sunday.
Navy leads the all-time series against Army, 78-49, and is 6-2 in the last eight games against its rival.
The Mids will next host American on Wednesday in the program's annual Senior Day game.