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Lumberjacks Chop Down Duke In Cameron In Overtime

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As the streak ends at 150.

NCAA Basketball: Stephen F. Austin at Duke
Nov 26, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forward Sama’Zha Hart (left) hugs Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks guard Kevon Harris (1) after they defeated the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Lumberjacks won 85-83 in overtime.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s probably fitting that it ended on a run-out.

Stephen F. Austin stunned the college-basketball-universe Tuesday night, beating

top-ranked Duke 85-83 in overtime, the winning basket coming on a breakaway layup at the buzzer by Nathan Bain, the final two of 26 SFA fast-break points.

Duke certainly did enough to keep the underdogs in the game, abysmal second-half foul-shooting, sloppy turnovers and a tentative offense that could generate only two points in overtime.

TWO POINTS

The Lumberjacks played like their nickname. They were just tougher than Duke. Sure they got a break or two from the officials. But it’s hard to complain about the officiating when you go to the foul line 40 times. But Duke missed 16 of those, shooting a woeful 11 of 24 from the line in the second half.

It was an equal-opportunity loss. Tre Jones had 8 turnovers. Vernon Carey missed 7 of 9 from the line in the second half. Cassius Stanley dribbled into two shot-clock violations in overtime.

It all seemed so normal for about 11 minutes. Duke took the lead at 7-5 and gradually expanded it. With nine minutes left in the half Duke was up 33-18 and well on their way to the double-digit win everyone expected.

But then the wheels came off. SFA thrives on forcing turnovers and they don’t get discouraged and they certainly don’t quit.

Kevon Harris scored on one of those fast-breaks, then a Matthew Hurt turnover led to a layup, then a Jones turnover led to another layup and it was a dogfight.

“They just started playing harder,” Jones acknowledged. “We let up definitely. We let them back into the game and they gained a bunch of confidence. They continued to play hard and they just wanted it more.”

“They force turnovers,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s what they do. A key factor in the ball game was to be strong with the ball. We were not strong with the ball. Someone’s going after you hard, you’d better catch it hard, at times we were catching it with one hand and trying to make a move. It was not a game where territory was easy and you’ve got to fight through it. They made us look bad.”

Duke still led 45-40 at the half.

Just a wake-up call, right?

Wrong?

Krzyzewski said that the staff tried to address the issues at the half but his team didn’t listen.

“We did not respond well to winning in New York. No matter what we said to our team . . . . they just assumed we were going to win. The way the first half went, you could tell. We didn’t respond at halftime or timeouts to a different level of emotion.”

Jones again stole the inbounds pass to start the half and drew a foul. But he missed both foul shots, the start of an ominous trend that helped doom Duke.

The Blue Devils kept scoring to keep the lead in the 4-to-7-point range. But every time the team that has thrived on the defensive end needed a stop, the visitors got a layup.

And every time Duke needed points, they missed a foul shot.

Missing foul shots can be contagious and Jack White thinks that happened to Duke.

“I think we over-thought it a bit. It got into our heads.”

Stephen F. Austin caught up at 62-62, with 8:36 left and got their first lead since the opening minute at 66-64.

Duke looked young.

And maybe a little scared.

“You’ve got to get old,” Krzyzewski acknowledged. “You get old by experience. You’ve got to get tough quick.”

Except for White, Duke went young down the stretch and paid the price.

Jones gave Duke an 81-79 lead with 29 seconds left on two free throws. But SFA got the ball inside to 255-pound bruiser Gavin Kinsmet who tied it inside.

Jones and Stanley had short shots in the final seconds of regulation but missed both.

Duke opened the extra period with three turnovers. Carey finally got Duke on the board with a layup, tying the game at 83.

But that was it. Duke got stops but turned it over two more times. Jones missed a jumper with 15 seconds left but Wendell Moore got the rebound and the shot clock was off. Hurt fumbled an entry pass, the ball got knocked around and suddenly it was ballgame.

“The last play was symbolic of eight or nine other plays, where they had free layups,” Krzyzewski said.

Everyone acknowledged that SFA deserved the win more than Duke deserved the win.

“It’s just human nature,” Jones said. “It’s tough. I think we got a little settled down with ourselves and didn’t want it as bad as they did. It has to be a wake-up call for us.”

White’s take?

“We didn’t attack them on defense and they did the opposite to us. You saw that in turnovers and the baskets in transition. We didn’t play like us at all. We have to get angry and use the lessons from tonight in a positive way. It’s only our seventh game of the season.”

“They were better, bottom line,” Krzyzewski summed up, “tougher than we were. They played with great poise and we helped them. You can’t give up 64 points in the paint . . . we weren’t deserving of winning.”

NOTES

  • The streak is 150 and ended.
  • Carey led Duke with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks. But, oh those missed freebies.
  • Matthew Hurt got the start and scored 15 points. But he had only 2 rebounds in 23 minutes. Jones had 17 points and 12 assists, while Stanley had 15 points.
  • Duke shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded SFA 40-34. But Duke coughed it up 22 times, while forcing only 14 turnovers and allowed 64 points in the paint. And their bench outscored Duke 27-7.
  • Kevon Harris led all scorers with 26 points. He’s the kind of 6-6, 215-pound senior who only shows up these days in Cameron if he’s playing for the other team.
  • Mike Krzyzewski said he was going to wallow in his disappointment for awhile and I suspect he’ll have lots of company.

Poll

Player Of The Game vs. Stephen F. Austin

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Matthew Hurt
    (18 votes)
  • 3%
    Wendell Moore
    (7 votes)
  • 25%
    Vernon Carey
    (58 votes)
  • 9%
    Cassius Stanley
    (21 votes)
  • 8%
    Tre Jones
    (19 votes)
  • 6%
    Joey Baker
    (14 votes)
  • 2%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    Jack White
    (43 votes)
  • 11%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (25 votes)
  • 5%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (13 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now