Duke Suffers Upset of the Season
teams spend Thanksgiving week at a luxury destination far from home, Duke decided to stay home for the holidays. After winning the 2K Empire Classic last week in New York, the Blue Devils passed on trips to Hawaii or the Bahamas and decided to play two low-level teams at Cameron Indoor Stadium, instead.
The decision cost them their 19-year winning streak and most likely, the No. 1 spot in the polls.
The lowest rated team on Duke’s schedule this season pulled off the upset of the year.
Stephen F. Austin, No. 264 out of 352 teams in the KenPom ratings, hit a buzzer beating layup in overtime to beat Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 85-83.
It was Duke’s first home non-conference loss since Feb. 26, 2000, a streak of 150 games, including 141 non-conference opponents.
Duke led by 15 at one point but a veteran SFA team never went away. Kevon Harris scored 26 points, the most by a Duke opponent this season. The Lumberjacks, who lead the nation in turnover percentage on defense, forced 22 Duke turnovers and had 26 fast break points.
Stephen F Austin also dominated inside, outscoring Duke in the paint, 64-36.
“They played harder than we did and were tougher,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They had 64 points in the paint and forced 22 turnovers. They just played a lot tougher and better and deserved to win. I’m just disappointed in our whole group.”
Duke led by just five at the half, then imploded in the second half and overtime. The Blue Devils hit just 11 of 24 free throws after halftime, and the offense was a disjointed mess in overtime. Duke had six turnovers in overtime, with just four shots.
In the final seconds, with the score tied, Tre Jones tried to pass inside to Matthew Hurt. SFA’s Nathan Bain picked off the pass and went coast-to-coast, laying the ball in just before the buzzer.
“I looked up at the clock,” Bain said on court after the game. “We had 2.6 seconds. I had to get on my horse. It was like a layup drill. I could feel the dude on my back, so I just laid it up.”
SFA coach Kyle Keller was thinking Forrest Gump on that last play. “Run, Nate, run,” he said of his reaction to the final seconds.
The loss most likely ends Duke’s two-week reign at number one in the polls. The Blue Devils return to the court on Friday, against Winthrop, after what surely will be a rough week of practice.
When asked what his message was to the team, Krzyzewski said, “That we stunk.”
“We weren’t deserving of winning,” he said. “That team was deserving of winning, and they won.”