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Mike Krzyzewski rarely loses at home, let alone early in the season.
In fact, the legendary Duke coach boasts a 150-game win streak in Cameron Indoor Stadium against non-conference opponents dating back to 2000, the longest in the NCAA.
Or, at least he did.
No. 1 Duke fell to Stephen F. Austin 85-83 on Tuesday night after Lumberjacks forward Nathan Bain sunk a buzzer-beating layup in overtime, shocking the Blue Devils.
“I saw my teammate on the floor and he picked it up,” Bain said, via Brendan Marks of The Athletic. “I took a quick glance at the clock, I saw we had like three seconds. I pointed, I was like, ‘Just throw it ahead, I’m going to try to chase it down.’ I could feel somebody on my back, but I just took another glance. The whole time I was dribbling, I was like, ‘I’ve got to get it up. I’ve got to get it up.’
“Like a layup drill, just put it on the glass and it’s going to go in. That’s what happened, and the rest is history. History is made. We did it.”
Stephen F. Austin rallied back from an early first-half hole to tie the game by the under-8 timeout in the second half. Duke guard Cassius Stanley, after bouncing back and forth in the final eight minutes, had a chance to end the game in regulation. His off-balanced shot at the buzzer, however, was off the mark.
The overtime period wasn’t any better for Duke offensively. The Blue Devils started out with four turnovers and put up just three shots in the first four minutes, allowing the Lumberjacks to stick right with them.
With just seven seconds left on the clock, Duke guard Tre Jones attempted to feed the ball inside to get one final shot. The pass, though, was tipped away by Gavin Kensmil, who then rolled over and found a wide open Bain cutting up the middle of the floor.
Bain, instead of pulling up, went straight to the rim and just barely got off the layup before the buzzer hit, sending Stephen F. Austin to the stunning two-point win.
“We don’t care who plays. We don’t care who we guard,” Stephen F. Austin coach Kyle Keller said after the game. “We just try to be a true team, and we’ve got 12 or 13 guys. We’ve been battling the flu, we’ve actually practiced pretty terrible this week … We’ve got a bunch of new guys and we try to fight. Just that ‘next man up’ like they talk about in the NFL, that kind of stuff.
“It was a fun night. I learned a lot about my team today for sure.”
Bain, a Freeport, Bahamas, native, then dedicated the win to his family back home in an emotional postgame interview. Bain’s family home took significant damage when Hurricane Dorian — a Category 5 storm — battered the island nation in September.
Kevon Harris led the Lumberjacks with 26 points on the night, shooting 11-of-16 from the field, and Cameron Johnson dropped 16 points off the bench. Kensmil finished with 15, and Bain added 11.
Vernon Carey led Duke with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Jones finished with 17 points and 12 assists. The Blue Devils finished with 22 turnovers as a team, too, and shot just 5-of-15 from the 3-point line. They had no answer for the Lumberjacks inside, either, as Stephen F. Austin scored 64 of its 85 points from inside the paint.
“They played harder than we did and were tougher,” Krzyzweski said. “They had 64 points in the game and forced 22 turnovers. They just played a lot tougher and better and deserved to win.”
Duke is now the second top-ranked team to fall to an unranked opponent at home this season, following then-No. 1 Kentucky’s 67-64 loss to Evansville on Nov. 18.
While the win will go down as one of the best upsets in college basketball history, Keller isn’t going to let his players get too excited because of it. He knows that, as a member of the Southland Conference, they still have a long way to go to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
He has a feeling Duke will improve quite a bit as a whole after that game, too.
“[Duke] probably won’t have a good Thanksgiving, because this will make their team a lot better and they will become great because of it,” Keller said, via Brendan Marks of The Athletic. “For us, we have to keep our guys humble because we’ll get one bid in the NCAA Tournament. Our league, our commissioner is here tonight. We’re trying to get more than one from our league. Hopefully this will gain some national respect because of how good basketball is in our league.”
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