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And Now, The Stephen Freakin’ Austin Aftermath

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NCAA Basketball: Stephen F. Austin at Duke
Nov 26, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks guard Kevon Harris (1) looks to pass as Duke Blue Devils guard Tre Jones (3) and Duke Blue Devils center Vernon Carey Jr. (1) defend during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Lumberjacks defeated Duke 85-83 in overtime.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen F. Austin’s huge upset of Duke Wednesday night continues to reverberate. Here’s the story in the Nacogdoches newspaper.

Here’s what the Washington Post has to say and here is the take from the New York Times.

People are enjoying it, other than Duke fans, and why not? When a major upset takes place people should enjoy it. It’s rare. We totally get it. We had a lot of fun when Kentucky lost to Evansville (and Gardner-Webb). We took pleasure when Wofford beat UNC in Chapel Hill, something that certain other South Carolina teams have (ahem) never done. Maybe that’s the next streak to go and everyone can celebrate with Clemson. Who knows?

There is a minor bit of controversy too as some people think that Nathan Baines double dribbled on his instantly legendary game winning drive.

Did he?

We’d say yes - and that it doesn't matter.

First, the game is over and you can’t put an asterisk next to it for a bad call. And secondly, we wouldn’t take that win away from them even if we somehow could. And even if they had called it, the game would have likely gone into double overtime.

Doubt it? Well Duke had two late shot clock violations and couldn't get a shot off with time running down and clearly weren’t playing well. If Duke had gotten a shot off it would have been a relief but there’s nothing to suggest they would have in that small amount of time. No one was ready to step up in that moment.

SFA came into one of the toughest environments in sports, stood up to everything and overcame a lot of adversity to win. They had a ton of character and more grit. So what if it was a bad call? That doesn’t outweigh a bad game by Duke.

The right team won this time.

The question following Stephen Freakin’ Austin’s big win is: what now?

If you’ve been following Duke for any length of time you know, and Coach K sort of outlined it at the end when he said Duke didn’t deserve to win, He talked about how the staff tried to explain to their young charges at halftime that they were in serious danger and they didn’t believe it.

Well they do now.

And that’s a good thing.

Over the years, Coach K has talked about the value of failure. If you’re honest, it gives you a chance to look at how you screwed up, make realistic assessments about where you are and what you need to to to reach your maximum potential.

Yes practices will be intense, but our guess is that a lot of what will happen between now and Friday will be personal challenges. Video we’re sure was broken down overnight. SFA players repeatedly streaking downcourt for layups will be shown a lot - as will how they got in that position. A lot of detail will be focused on individually.

Wendell Moore’s first-half cross-court pass that sailed into the stands will be discussed. SFA’s repeated ability to score inside will be picked apart. And players, individually and collectively, will be intensely challenged.

If you see something Friday like Mike Buckmire and Justin Robinson starting, don’t be surprised.

If the locker room is locked, well, we’ve been there at least twice before.

After a loss like that, the staff will be seeking everyone’s complete and undivided attention. And we’re pretty sure they’ll get it too.