Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski: SFA ‘played harder than we did’

Nathan Bain scored on a breakaway layup with less than a second remaining in overtime Tuesday night as the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks registered an improbable 85-83 road victory over the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils.

After Bain hit the shot, he was mobbed by his teammates as players and staff charged off the visitors’ bench to celebrate the end of a 150-game Duke winning streak at home over non-conference opponents.

It was the first victory by a visiting non-conference team at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Feb. 26, 2000, when St. John’s won, 83-82.

The Lumberjacks are coached by Kyle Keller, a former UTSA assistant coach.

Keller has worked as an assistant at Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma State, UTSA and Louisiana Tech. He worked at UTSA for one season in 1996-97 under former coach Tim Carter.

In an interview aired via radio broadcast on 94.7 Smoke, out of Charlotte, Keller said he feels blessed to win and fortunate that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski agreed to play the game.

‘Run Nate, run’

Asked what he was thinking when Bain raced up court in the final seconds with no time outs, Keller asked radio hosts if they had ever seen the movie, “Forrest Gump.”

“Run Nate run,” Keller said. “That’s what I was thinking.”

Krzyzewski told the Duke radio broadcast that the Lumberjacks deserved to win.

“They played like an old, veteran team,” Krzyzewski said. “They played harder than we did, and they were tougher … We were coming off winning a championship in New York. We were soft tonight.”

The Lumberjacks trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half. Matthew Hurt hit a shot off a feed from Vernon Carey, Jr., to make it 33-18 with 9:03 remaining.

From there, SFA rallied behind Kevon Harris, who had 20 of his team-high 26 points in the first half. He led a 22-12 streak as the Lumberjacks pulled to within 45-40 at halftime.

SFA kept grinding it out in the second half and forged a 75-72 lead with 3:30 remaining on Nathan Bain’s jumper.

The game was up for grabs in the final minute. First, the Lumberjacks tied it on Gavin Kensmil’s layup with 19 seconds left.

Next, Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley missed shots for Duke, sending it to overtime tied, 81-81.

Overtime evolved into a defensive struggle.

With the scored tied 83-83, Duke was working for the last shot when a pass to the baseline resulted in a loose ball and a pass to the perimeter, where Bain grabbed it and raced the distance to lay it in.

Duke radio reported that Bain’s shot fell through the net with “two or three-tenths” of a second remaining.

‘Prayed it would go in’

“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 told reporters at the game site, as reported by the Associated Press. “I wasn’t sure if the guy was going to foul me or not. Get it on the rim to give us a chance.”

Keller said both teams were “gassed” in the second half and overtime.

“We had gone up and down,” he said. “It was such a fast-paced first half. Both teams were pressuring and playing old school pressure, denial, hit you in the mouth, force the turnovers and run up and down. Nobody had anything left by the time we got to the second half, to be honest with you.”


Former UTSA assistant Jeremy Cox is an assistant head coach with the Lumberjacks. Cox also worked for the Roadrunners in the 1990s … The Lumberjacks have played in NCAA tournaments in five of the past 11 seasons. Keller and Cox led the Lumberjacks to the tournament in 2017-18 … Former Spurs great James Silas, whose jersey No. 13 is retired in the rafters at the AT&T Center, played at SFA.


Keller said he was so proud of his players going into the overtime, he asked them what offensive sets they wanted to run. “For four minutes and 59 seconds we scored two points,” the coach pointed out. “That’ll be the last time I let them run offense.”


SFA 5-1
Duke 6-1

Statistically speaking

SFA: Kevon Harris had 26 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Cameron Johnson scored 16 off the bench. Gavin Kensmil produced 15 points and 7 rebounds. Nathan Bain had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Duke: Vernon Carey Jr., had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Tre Jones had 17 points, 12 assists. Cassius Stanley, 15 points, 5 rebounds. Matthew Hurt, 15 points.

Free throws

Duke lost the game at the free throw line. The Blue Devils were 24 of 40 at the line. The Lumberjacks were 11 of 17.

North Carolina routs top-ranked Duke, 88-72

Forward Luke Maye produced 30 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night as eighth-ranked North Carolina won decisively on the road against an old rival, toppling the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils, 88-72.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson also enjoyed a big game with 26 points and seven rebounds at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke played most of the night without star freshman Zion Williamson, who fell and suffered a knee injury only 36 seconds into the action. He did not return.

Subsequently, the Tar Heels ran solid halfcourt offensive sets and rolled behind Maye and Cam Johnson to a 10-point lead at halftime.

North Carolina outscored Duke 17-5 in the first four minutes of the second half to take a 22-point lead.

Johnson capped the streak when he hit a layup with 15:58 remaining to make it 59-37.

Duke closed to within 13 points with 2:44 remaining, when Cam Reddish hit a three.

But the Tar Heels steadied themselves and held on, breaking the Blue Devils’ nine-game winning streak.


North Carolina 21-5, 11-2
Duke 23-3, 11-2


Williamson suffered the injury on his first touch of the game. On the wing, he drove into the key and went down when the shoe on his left foot came apart. Replay showed him clutching the back of his right leg above the knee.

Barrett, Williamson lead Duke back to No. 1 in the AP poll

With an Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry game scheduled Wednesday at home against North Carolina, the Duke Blue Devils are back on top.

They moved up one spot to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Monday morning when the 16th poll of the season was published.

The Tennessee Volunteers had been No. 1 for four straight weeks, but they took a tumble following an 86-69 loss to Kentucky at Lexington.

Now, the top five includes Duke at No. 1, followed by Gonzaga, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Bolstered by one of the most talented freshmen classes in Mike Krzyzewski’s career, Duke started the year at No. 4 in the preseason.

They’ve been up and down since then, ranked No. 1 in Weeks 2 and 3 and then again from 8-11 and now in Week 16.

Two freshmen forwards entered the season with high expectations, and both are delivering.

RJ Barrett leads the Blue Devils in scoring, averaging 22.7 points and 7.4 rebounds, while Zion Williamson averages 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks.

Barrett recorded Duke’s first triple-double in 13 years, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 10 assists in a 94-78 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday night.

Williamson also played well, scoring 32 points on 12 of 16 shooting.

In the ACC, Duke leads the standings at 11-1, with Virginia and North Carolina trailing at 10-2.

Duke has already swept two games from Virginia.

Now, the Blue Devils will test the eighth-ranked Tar Heels for the first time this year on Wednesday in Durham.

The two teams will play again on March 9 in Chapel Hill.

AP Top 25

1. Duke 23-2 ACC
2. Gonzaga 25-2 West Coast
3. Virginia 22-2 ACC
4. Kentucky 21-4 SEC
5. Tennessee 23-2 SEC
6. Nevada 24-1 Mountain West
7. Michigan 23-3 Big Ten
8. North Carolina 20-5 ACC
9. Houston 25-1 American
10. Michigan State 21-5 Big Ten
11. Marquette 21-4 Big East
12. Kansas 20-6 Big 12
13. LSU 21-4 SEC
14. Texas Tech 21-5 Big 12
15. Purdue 18-7 Big Ten
16. Florida State 20-5 ACC
17. Villanova 20-6 Big East
18. Louisville 18-8 ACC
19. Iowa State 19-6 Big 12
20. Virginia Tech 20-5 ACC
21. Iowa 20-5 Big Ten
22. Wisconsin 17-8 Big Ten
23. Kansas State 19-6 Big 12
24. Maryland 19-7 Big Ten
25. Buffalo 22-3 Mid-American

Syracuse knocks off top-ranked Duke, 95-91, in overtime

Guard Tyus Battle scored 32 points and forward Paschal Chukwu had four in the final 1:22 of overtime Monday as the Syracuse Orange stunned the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 95-91, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Feels great,” Battle told ESPN after the natonally-televised game from Durham, North Carolina. “Feels really good. Hopefully we can get it going.”

Playing without two starters for most of the game, the Blue Devils held the lead for most of the night but couldn’t hold on.

Battle played a major role in the upset, hitting 12 of 28 from the field, including a three pointer falling backwards down the stretch in regulation.

Two freshmen led the Blue Devils in scoring. Zion Williamson produced 35 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Barrett had 23 and 16 rebounds.

Duke and Syracuse went into overtime tied 85-85. Battle had a clean look on a three-pointer that hit the back iron at the buzzer.

For the Blue Devils, Williamson produced 34 points in regulation. Battle had 30 for the Orange.

Duke basketball officials announced before tipoff that freshman forward Cam Reddish would not play because of an illness.

Even as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 12-0 lead, more bad luck stalked the No. 1 team in the nation, as starting point guard Tre Jones suffered a injury to his right arm.

Jones did not return.


Syracuse 12-5, 3-1
Duke 14-2, 3-1

Top-ranked Duke hosts Syracuse and No. 4 Virginia this week

There hasn’t been much change at the top of the Associated Press Top 25 poll recently, but the rankings among the elite could be in for a shakeup as marquee games loom in the coming days.

The top-ranked Duke Blue Devils, for instance, will host unranked Syracuse tonight and then will brace for a visit from undefeated and No. 4 Virginia on Saturday.

Virginia hosts ninth-ranked Virginia Tech on Tuesday before making the trek to Durham to face Duke this weekend.

For the fourth straight week, the top four in the rankings remained the same — Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia — as the new poll came out Monday.

For the second week in a row, the top 10 stayed in the same order.

AP Top 25

1. Duke 14-1 ACC
2. Michigan 17-0 Big Ten
3. Tennessee 14-1 SEC
4. Virginia 15-0 ACC
5. Gonzaga 16-2 West Coast
6. Michigan State 15-2 Big Ten
7. Kansas 14-2 Big 12
8. Texas Tech 15-1 Big 12
9. Virginia Tech 14-1 ACC
10. Nevada 16-1 Mountain West
11. Florida State 13-3 ACC
12. Kentucky 12-3 SEC
13. North Carolina 12-4 ACC
14. Auburn 12-3 SEC
15. Marquette 14-3 Big East
16. Buffalo 15-1 Mid-American
17. North Carolina State 14-2 ACC
18. Ole Miss 13-2 SEC
19. Maryland 14-3 Big Ten
20. Oklahoma 13-3 Big 12
21. Houston 16-1 American
22. Villanova 13-4 Big East
23. Iowa 14-3 Big Ten
24. Mississippi State 12-3 SEC
25. Indiana 12-4 Big Ten

No. 1 Duke leads six ACC teams among top 15 in AP poll

It’s getting crowded at the top of the Associated Press Top 25. Crowded with Atlantic Coast Conference teams, that is.

No. 1 Duke leads three ACC teams in the top nine in this week’s poll. The ACC also has six programs in the top 15.

But without a doubt, Duke is the talk of the conference and the nation, with freshman Zion Williamson (see video above) making the spectacular look routine.

Williamson incited the home crowd with his dunk of the year last Saturday in an 87-68 victory over Clemson.

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m wide open. Why not?'” Williamson said in an AP story out of Durham, North Carolina. “I did it, got high enough and it was almost like a layup.”

Added Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, “I’m not amazed at that stuff. He can do that. We allow him to do it. There’s no ceiling on how high or how many times he can twirl — as long as he puts the damn thing in.”

Against the Tigers, Williamson had 25 points and 10 rebounds. He’s averaging 19.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in 13 games.

Here are the rankings:

AP Top 25
1. Duke 12-1 ACC
2. Michigan 15-0 Big Ten
3. Tennessee 12-1 SEC
4. Virginia 13-0 ACC
5. Gonzaga 14-2 West Coast
6. Michigan State 13-2 Big Ten
7. Kansas 12-2 Big 12
8. Texas Tech 13-1 Big 12
9. Virginia Tech 13-1 ACC
10. Nevada 14-1 Mountain West
11. Auburn 11-2 SEC
12. North Carolina 11-3 ACC
13. Florida State 12-2 ACC
14. Mississippi State 12-1 SEC
15. North Carolina State 13-1 ACC
16. Ohio State 12-2 Big Ten
17. Houston 15-0 American
18. Kentucky 10-3 SEC
19. Buffalo 13-1 Mid-American
20. Iowa State 12-2 Big 12
21. Marquette 12-3 Big East
22. Indiana 12-3 Big Ten
23. Oklahoma 12-2 Big 12
24. St. John’s 14-1 Big East
25. TCU 12-1 Big 12

Local athletes in the top five

Two athletes from the San Antonio area appear to have a great chance to experience deep runs in the NCAA Tournament with highly-rated teams. One is Duke junior Justin Robinson, a 6-10 junior forward from San Antonio Christian. Robinson is the son of former Spurs great David Robinson. The other is Jeremy Jones. Jones, a 6-7 senior forward from East Central, plays for the No. 5 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Duke rallies past Texas Tech, 69-58, in New York

Forward RJ Barrett scored 10 of his 16 points in the last 14 minutes Thursday, leading the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils to a 69-58 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders

Duke was down 42-34 with 14:22 remaining when Tech freshman guard Kyler Evans hit a layup off a feed from Jarrett Culver.

From there, the Blue Devils picked up the defensive intensity, started to flow in offensive transition and handed the Red Raiders from the Big 12 conference their first loss of the season.

As the Blue Devils gained momentum, a 3-pointer out of the corner from Cam Reddish served to deflate the Red Raiders further.

It lifted Duke into a 63-57 lead with 3:26 remaining.


Texas Tech 10-1
Duke 10-1


Texas Tech — Jarrett Culver, 25 points 6 rebounds, 4 assists. Culver also had 6 of his team’s 24 turnovers.

Duke — Zion Williamson, 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out. RJ Barrett, 16 points. Tre Jones, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals.

Trailing 8-0 early, the 12th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders rallied into a 29-28 halftime lead on No. 2 Duke at Madison Square Garden.

Tech looked out of sorts in the early going with turnovers leading to Duke transition points.

But the Red Raiders settled down under sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, taking a 21-14 lead on the heels of a 21-6 run.

Duke-fueled hype on the horizon for 10-0 Texas Tech

The 11th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders are taking a clear-eyed view of their 10-0 record leading into a Thursday night game in New York against the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils.

Asked late Saturday night how he will “coach emotion” in preparation for Mike Krzyzewski’s perennial ACC powerhouse, Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said it won’t be a problem.

“It’s kind of a non-issue with us because we got these seniors,” Beard said. “These four seniors, they know that 10-0 doesn’t mean much.

“We’d much rather win our last 10 games. That means you’re going to win the Big 12 tournament and the national championship.”

The Big 12 regular-season schedule starts in January, and Tech is expected to be a contender in the conference race.

But until then, the Duke game promises to be a topic of discussion locally, as well as in the biggest media market in the nation.

Conversations on the game could very well spin off into issues, such as:

1) Whether the Red Raiders are as good as advertised. After all, they lost a lot of talent from last year’s Elite Eight team, and their best victories this year, thus far, have come against Southern Cal, Nebraska and Memphis.

2) Whether they can guard Blue Devils freshmen RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, already considered as NBA lottery prospects.

3) Whether they can deal with the hype of a game played in the biggest media market in the nation.

As a coach, Beard seems much more concerned about how he will deal with the Blue Devils’ talent, and not so much the intangibles.

Tech seniors such as Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney, Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens seem to instill confidence in the coach.

So does sophomore Jarrett Culver, who scored 30 points Saturday night in an 82-48 victory over Abilene Christian.

No doubt, Beard has some swagger about him.

“With some younger teams, I’d worry about things like (a big-game atmosphere),” Beard said. “But with these four seniors leading this team, and (with) Jarrett Culver being a best-player type guy …

“You know I got a lot to worry about, with the next game on the schedule (against) a Hall of Fame coach, and NBA (caiber) players. I don’t worry much about our guys not being focused,” he said.

Texas Tech advances to the College World Series

Gabe Holt, Michael Davis and Brian Klein belted home runs Monday afternoon, lifting the Texas Tech Red Raiders into the College World Series with a 6-2 victory over Duke.

Five Texas Tech pitchers scattered 10 Duke hits to clinch the best-of-3 Lubbock Super Regional, two games to one.

It is the third CWS appearance for the Red Raiders in the past five seasons.

Texas Tech won the opener Saturday and Duke took the second game on Sunday to set up the decisive game at Rip Griffin Park.

Duke tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a Jimmy Herron infield single, but Texas Tech retaliated immediately.

Zach Rheams led off the bottom half of the inning with a ground rule double and Davis followed with a two-run homer, making it 3-1.

After Duke scored once on a couple of triples to pull within a run in the sixth inning, Texas Tech answered in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot by Klein.

The Red Raiders picked up two insurance runs in the eighth on RBI singles from Holt and Josh Jung.

Jung, a Texas Tech sophomore from MacArthur, had four of his teams’s 13 hits to raise his batting average to .390 leading into the CWS.

It will be his first trip to Omaha as a player, though he says he has attended a few of them as a fan.


Josh Jung, talking to ESPN before the final game of the Super Regional, about what it would mean for him to make it to the CWS:

“To me, it’s been a lifelong goal, since I was eight-years old.”


Duke 45-18
Texas Tech 44-18

Duke routs Texas Tech 11-2 at the Lubbock Super Regional

Max Miller doubled and tripled and produced four RBI for the Duke Blue Devils, who defeated Texas Tech 11-2 Sunday night in the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional.

With the victory, the Blue Devils tied the best-of-3 series at one game apiece. A deciding Game 3 is set for Monday with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

The game is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN2.