DURHAM, N.C. — With a breakaway layup at the overtime buzzer, Stephen F. Austin pulled off a shocker for the ages and did what no team outside the ACC had done in almost 20 years — topple mighty Duke at home.
The underdog Lumberjacks and their high-pressure defense took over at Cameron Indoor Stadium as No. 1 Duke lost its grip on everything: The ball, the game, its prized home-court winning streak and, ultimately, the nation’s top ranking.
Stephen F. Austin stunned the Blue Devils 85-83 in overtime Tuesday night, with Nathan Bain’s coast-to-coast layup just before time expired bringing a jarring end to Duke’s 150-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents.
“I told our players, ‘Banners can’t beat us tonight,’” SFA coach Kyle Keller said. “The players have to beat us.”
Representing the little-known Southland Conference, the Lumberjacks became the first non-Atlantic Coast Conference school to beat Duke at Cameron since St. John’s in February 2000, and the second unranked squad to upset a No. 1 team on its home floor in two weeks after Evansville went into Rupp Arena and knocked off Kentucky 67-64.
Duke had the ball late in overtime, but Tre Jones missed a jumper with about 15 seconds left and Wendell Moore rebounded it for the Blue Devils. Hounded by the Lumberjacks’ active defense, Jones threw a bounce pass toward the baseline that got broken up, and the ball kicked away from Matthew Hurt in a scramble with around three seconds to go.
Gavin Kensmil snatched it on the ground and passed from the seat of his pants to Bain, who split two Blue Devils players and went nearly the length of the floor for a buzzer-beating layup with Duke forward Jack White in futile pursuit.
“I looked up at the clock and saw I had 2.6 seconds, just going as fast as I can to lay it up. Like a layup drill. Prayed it would go in,” Bain said. “I wasn’t sure if the guy was going to foul me or not. Get it on the rim to give us a chance.”
Kevon Harris scored 26 points and Kensmil added 15 for the Lumberjacks (5-1).