How did two teams in the Patriot League manage an unlikely 46-point turnaround in back-to-back games? Or, what a difference a day makes

Army lost to Colgate by 44 the first time the teams played in early January, but somehow bounced back and won the second meeting.

By Joel Alderman

It was a rare, almost unheard of, two days for the Colgate and Army-West Point basketball teams when they played back-to-back games at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y. on Jan 2-3. They caused fans to wonder how can a team (Army) lose by 44 points, then 24 hours later come back against the same opponent on the same court and win?

Or, from another perspective, how can a team (Colgate) win by 44 points, then 24 hours later come back against the same opponent on the same court and lose?

Both questions are really the same. It’s just how one looks at it.

The combined scores of the two games were Colgate 174 Army 132. The won-loss log for each was 1-1. Does that make sense? It does because it actually happened.

Not only the scores from one day to the next were inconsistent but the battle of the glass took a turn overnight. In the first game, Colgate had a 44-23 advantage. But in the follow-up contest, Army had 39 rebounds to Colgate’s 38.

History may have been made

As unlikely as all this sounds, Colgate and Army-West Point made a kind of history. The Black Knights were blown out Jan 2nd 101-57 after a long bus trip from West Point, arriving in Hamilton, N.Y. just two and a half hours before the 3 p.m. start.

The following afternoon Colgate seemed to pick up where it left off on Saturday, scoring the first two points. But then a strange thing happened. Army went on an 11-0 run. After Colgate moved to within one, the visitors widened the lead to 11 at the half. With 15 minutes to play they led by 15 points.

The Raiders (Colgate dropped “Red” from its nickname 20 years ago) caught up and tied the score at 63, but Army moved ahead 66 to 63. Colgate tied it once more at 71 before the West Pointers got a 3-point play and again were on top, 74-71. Army held on for its 75-73 victory to complete the 46-point turnaround.

The coaches’ take

Colgate coach Matt Langel spoke magnanimously, with some patriotism thrown in. “Army played great and we have to give a lot of credit to them. I feel pretty good that that’s who represents our country in how they responded from yesterday.”

And the head man of the military academy team, Jim Allen, summed up his feelings by saying “We got knocked out (yesterday) and got off the mat and played some inspired basketball. We are a team that has to win in different ways, and you have to fight to find a way to win.”

Especially when they beat you by 44 the day before, we might add.

Or as Joe Castiglione, radio voice of the Boston Red Sox, Colgate alum, and ardent fan of the Raiders would say, “Can you believe it?”

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