Army’s 27-point comeback to beat rival Navy last weekend was the sixth-biggest comeback all-time in Division I. It was the second time in the last five seasons that Army had erased a deficit of at least 25 points against Navy.
The comeback propelled the Black Knights to the greatest come-from-behind win in Patriot League history and a 6-2 record in the league, tied for the best start in program history with its starts in the 2014 and 2019 seasons.
The comeback by Army made me think about my top five favorite comebacks in men’s college basketball:
1. Illinois 90, Arizona 89 (OT), March 26, 2005: The Illini trailed 75-60 with 4:04 left in regulation in an epic Elite Eight game at the Rosemont Horizon near O’Hare Airport. The game was an essential home game in the Elite Eight and had one of the best atmospheres of a game I’ve ever watched — on television. Unfortunately I was at another regional final!
2. Duke 98, Maryland 96 OT, Jan. 27, 2001: The Blue Devils were down 90-80 with 55 seconds left in regulation before they tied the game and ultimately won in overtime in College Park, Maryland. Duke ultimately would win the national title, beating Maryland again in the Final Four.
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3. Kentucky 99, LSU 95, Feb. 15, 1994: This was a minor miracle for Rick Pitino and the ‘Cats. They trailed 68-37 with 15:34 left in the second half. The comeback is still considered one of, if not the greatest of all-time. Kentucky made 11 3-pointers and outscored the Tigers 62-27 down the stretch to win the game.
4. New Mexico State 112, New Mexico 104 (2OT), Dec. 11, 1993: I was the beat writer for the Albuquerque Journal covering the Lobos for this one. The Pit was rocking. The Aggies, the hated rival then led by coach Neil McCarthy who loved being the villain, were down 93-86 with 47 seconds left in the first overtime. McCarthy relished the role. He has since passed away in September at the age of 81. But the Aggies were quite a team under his direction.
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5. Nevada 75, Cincinnati 73, March 18, 2018: Eric Musselman’s Wolf Pack was down 65-43 with 11:27 left in the game. But the Wolf Pack would not be denied and stunned the No. 2 seed to get to the Sweet 16. The No. 7 seeded Wolf Pack had something special going during that run to the Sweet 16 before they were upset by Loyola Chicago, which was on its own magical run. Musselman catapulted himself in the coaching profession with that comeback win. Mick Cronin ultimately wasn’t hurt by it, a few years later he would coach UCLA to the Final Four!