Last Sunday, the Kansas Chiefs overcame a 24-point first half deficit to take a halftime lead over the Houston Texans. This was reportedly the largest deficit ever overcome by a team leading at the half in NFL history.
It’s kind of a silly record when you think about it. You don’t win the game by leading at halftime so who really cares if a team erases the deficit by halftime or a few minutes into the second half. However, in a win-or-go-home situation, it does say something about how the game unfolded. Normally a team would be dead trailing by 24, and not only were the Chiefs not dead, they had fully erased the deficit before the half.
But who even thought about such a record before this game? I certainly didn’t. Now that I have I was curious what the record is in college basketball. Here are the biggest deficits overcome in a college game since the 2010 season.
February 6, 2016. North Florida trailed Florida Gulf Coast 22-4, led at half 35-34. (Lost game 81-65.) The halftime score was especially deceptive in this one as North Florida only led for two minutes and played most of both halves in a deep deficit.
January 19, 2019. Drexel trailed James Madison 22-4, led at half 33-31. (Won game 73-68.) Within a 12-month period, Drexel pulled off the biggest comeback in D-I history and the 7th biggest first half comeback of the decade.
February 3, 2018. N.C. Central trailed Delaware State 27-9, led at half 40-37. (Won game 72-61.) Delaware State won two games against Division-I and while I’m too lazy to confirm it, this had to be their biggest lead in a road game all season.
December 28, 2013. Syracuse trailed Villanova 25-7, led at half 38-34. (Won game 78-62.) This was the Orange’s 12th win on the way to a 25-0 start…and a 3-6 finish.
January 21, 2017. Oklahoma trailed Iowa State 28-9, led at half 30-29. (Lost game 92-87 in double overtime.) The Cyclones scored one point over their final 16 possessions of the first half before combusting for a 40-point second half.
December 6, 2017. Lehigh trailed Yale 31-12, led at half 42-40. (Lost game 86-77.) Teams on this list went 5-5 in these games with a -7 scoring differential. So much for momentum.
January 23, 2012. San Jose State trailed Cal State Bakersfield 23-4, led at half 36-35. (Won game 78-70.) There was a time when San Jose State wasn’t bad at basketball. It wasn’t the 2012 season, though. They finished 9-22 and 1-13 in the WAC that season.
November 15, 2009. Winston Salem State trailed UC Davis 20-0, led at half 42-41. (Lost game 99-79.) This was during the four-year stretch where Winston Salem State played D-I basketball. The highest-ranked team they defeated was #197 Lipscomb.
January 17, 2015. South Dakota State trailed South Dakota 20-0, led at half 31-29. (Won game 71-57.) A pre-Mike Daum era explosion by the Jackrabbits.
February 22, 2012. Coppin State trailed Morgan State 38-17, led at half 46-45. (Lost game 91-80.) No Pat Mahomes story here as Coppin State’s great comeback led to a fiery halftime speech by Todd Bozeman which motivated Morgan State to win the battle of Baltimore going away.