WEST POINT, NY - Army West Point’s Kevin Ferguson (Governor Livingston, Berkeley Heights) is on a mission, a basketball mission. Just ask the Navy Midshipmen and the rest of the Patriot League. Since returning to the starting lineup from a mid-season injury, the Black Knights' 6-10 center has been dominating the Patriot League, leading surging Army to 6 League wins in 7 games.
Along the way, Ferguson has had an incredible 3 weeks. He has registered seven consecutive double-doubles, averaging 20.4 points and 13.7 rebounds over that span, pushing Army's win total to 18, the most since the 1976/77 season. He scored the winning basket against Navy with less than a second left in double-overtime to end a 5 game losing streak to their archrival Midshipmen.
He has become the 31st player in West Point history to score 1000 career points. He scored his 400th career basket which qualified him for the Patriot League all-time leader in career field-goal percentage, as he easily now stands in first place on the list at 63.0%.
He was named the Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Week, the Army Athletic Association Co-Athlete of the Week, the ECAC Division 1 Player of the Week and the American Sports Network men's basketball player of the week for his heroics in the Navy (22pts,19reb) game and stellar play in a win at Holy Cross (25pts,13reb). All of this outstanding play has Ferguson and the Black Knights peaking at the right time as they head into the Patriot League Tournament, earning a first round bye as a result of their recent win streak.
Playing against Navy in Annapolis, before a raucous sold out crowd, the Black Knights seniors desperately wanted their last meeting with the Midshipmen to end in victory. Finding themselves trailing all game and again in the first overtime, the Black Knights fought back each time to extend the game. In the second overtime with 10 seconds remaining and the game tied, Army’s Kyle Wilson drove to the hoop missing a floater from the left side, but the 6-10 Ferguson slid down the lane and was in perfect position to lay in the miss with .7 seconds left, providing the game winner. Ferguson posted 22 points and a career high 19 rebounds enabling Army Coach Zack Spiker to notch his 100th career win.
“Today, you saw the competitive spirit of what makes our Army so great,” Army coach Zach Spiker said. “Every person in our program contributed today. It’s a special game because it’s at Navy and it’s meaningful in the standings. I’m just really happy for our players. Kevin has been playing great basketball and this performance cements his legacy as one of the best big men to come through West Point,” Spiker said of Ferguson, whose rebound total was an Army record against Navy.
Ferguson worked his way into the starting lineup mid-way through his freshman year and has started virtually every game since. He has seen his scoring and rebounds totals steadily rise each year and will leave West Point holding a number of basketball records. He will leave the Academy as the all-time leader in field-goal percentage (.63) and blocked shots (193). Ferguson, along with 2 others teammates, are the first class (2016) to have 3 1000 point scorers.
One person who has tracked his growth as a player is his former high school coach and mentor Steven Petruzzelli. Coach Petruzzelli has had a chance to see his former team captain Ferguson ( GL 2012) in action 17 times this season and shared the following thoughts, "As he did in high school, Kevin never stops improving his game. In the last three weeks, he has lifted his game to a new level offensively and is a major part of Army's 5 game winning streak. Berkeley Heights and Governor Livingston should be very proud of him, as am I, in what he has accomplished and his future service to our country."
Throughout his college career in addition to Coach Petruzzelli there always seemed to be a contingent of Berkeley Heights and Mountainside supporters at Army West Point games cheering him on. Last chance to catch Ferguson in action at West Point will be this Saturday February 27, in Army's regular season finale against Lehigh University. This SENIOR DAY celebration, (Ferguson and his 4 senior teammates have all been starters since freshman year) will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
Kevin Ferguson, majoring in systems engineering, is the son of Brian and Eileen Ferguson of Berkeley Heights.
Editors Note: If Army could win the Patriot League Tournament they would automatically qualify for the NCCA Tournament. Ferguson would join the only other Gov. Livingston grad, Dave Boff, as a former Highlander hoopster who played in the "March Madness” tourney. Boff is currently the head coach of nationally ranked Roselle Catholic High School and has led the Lions to two NJSIAA Boys Basketball Championships in the last three years.