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.”

Notable

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.

Quotable

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.”

Records

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.

Stephen F. Austin holds off Incarnate Word, 74-71


UIW guard Jordan Caruso brings the crowd to its feet with a slashing layup that tied the game with 44 seconds left.

Guard Kevon Harris produced 25 points and seven rebounds Saturday afternoon, and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks held off the Incarnate Word Cardinals, 74-71, in the Southland Conference.

In a game played before an announced 1,139 fans at UIW, the Cardinals erased an eight-point deficit and tied the defending SLC tournament champions in the last minute.

A driving layup by UIW freshman Jordan Caruso made it 71-71 with 44 seconds to play. But the Cardinals came up short at the end.

Despite one off its most inspired efforts of the season, UIW dropped its third straight and fell to 3-9 in its last 12 games.

“We fought hard and played with all our hearts for 40 minutes,” Cardinals forward Christian Peevy said. “We just hve to stay together and move forward.”

After UIW tied the game late, SFA responded with a possession in which Harris was fouled and hit both free throws for a two-point advantage.

UIW, on its next play, came down and watched as Augustine Ene misfired on an open look three-point shot from the right wing.

The rebound caromed out of bounds off SFA, giving UIW the ball out of bounds under its own basket.

After a timeout, Ene inbounded a pass intended for Charles Brown on the same right wing.

But SFA’s Davonte Fitzgerald lashed into the picture and got a hand on it, knocking it off Brown and out of bounds, giving the possession to the Lumberjacks.

Lumberjacks guard Shannon Bogues hit one of two free throws for the final point of the game with two seconds left.

UIW rushed it upcourt and got a shot off, a desperating three by Brown, but it was long and off to the side as time expired.

“We did some nice things and I was happy for the guys as far as their ability execute things and play together,” UIW coach Carson Cunningham said. “It’s just very difficult to win college basketball games.

“We’re just going to have to keep plugging and trying to break through.”

Records

Stephen F. Austin 9-8, 2-3
Incarnate Word 6-12 1-4

Alabama holds off SFA to win 79-69 in Nacogdoches

Senior guard Riley Norris knocked down a couple of three-point shots late in the game Sunday as the Alabama Crimson Tide escaped with a 79-69 victory over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches.

Norris told the Alabama radio broadcast after the game that the raucous atmosphere at sold-out Johnson Coliseum forced the Crimson Tide to trust its preparation.

“It’s very similar to a Wichita State-type of environment,” Norris said. “Sold out. Fans are really into the game. When they go on a run you can’t really hear anything. So, you just got to trust each other on the court. Trust the coaches, and trust our preparation.”

Announced attendance was a capacity 7,203. Afterward, SFA coach Kyle Keller thanked the fans for their support of the program in its historic first home game against an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.

“FANTASTIC atmosphere in the #Sawmill!” Keller wrote in a Twitter post.

Turning point

The biggest sequence of the second half came with about five minutes remaining. SFA had the ball, trailing by three, and the crowd was into it.

But Karl Nicholas committed a turnover. On the other end, Norris drained a three to make it a six-point game. SFA, the defending champion in the Southland Conference, never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Individual leaders

Alabama — Kira Lewis, Jr., 17 points and 8 assists. Riley Norris, 14 points and 4 three-pointers, off the bench. Donta Hall, 12 points and 14 rebounds. Tevin Mack, 12 points.

SFA — Shannon Bogues, 21 points. Kevon Harris, 14 points. Bogues and Harris combined for five three-pointers. Off the bench, John Comeaux, 13 points, 4 rebounds and Karl Nicholas, 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Records

Alabama 9-3
Stephen F. Austin 7-5

Late run lifts third-seeded Texas Tech past SFA, 70-60

Keenan Evans scored 23 points Thursday night in a 70-60 victory for third-seeded Texas Tech over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin in an NCAA East Regional round-of-64 game at Dallas.

Trailing by seven, Texas Tech outscored SFA 26-9 in the last 10 minutes of the game to secure its first NCAA victory in 13 years.

The win lifted the Red Raiders (25-9) of the Big 12 conference into the round of 32 against either sixth-seeded Florida or No. 11 St. Bonaventure.

Riding a five-game winning streak into the tournament, the Southland Conference champs from SFA (28-7) played well for 30 minutes and had a chance, but lost in Kyle Keller’s first NCAA game as a head coach.

The game was a reunion of coaches, of sorts.

Keller and SFA assistant Jeremy Cox worked on Tim Carter’s staff at UTSA in the 1990s, and both knew Chris Beard, then an assistant at Incarnate Word.

Beard is in his second season as Texas Tech’s head coach.

Stat leaders

Texas Tech: Keenan Evans, 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists. Zhaire Smith, 10 points, 8 rebounds.

SFA: Ivan Canete, 17 points, 5 of 8 shooting, 4 steals. Shannon Bogues, 14 points off the bench. Kevon Harris, 12 points, 4 steals. TJ Holyfield, 10 points.

Coming up: Texas Tech will meet either Florida or St. Bonaventure with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line. Tech’s last Sweet 16 berth came in 2005 under coach Bob Knight.

Texas Tech, SFA to meet in NCAA round of 64 at Dallas

Seven programs from the state of Texas were slotted into the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The tournament opens Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, on the first of two days of the First Four, and then it concludes with the Final Four, set for March 31 and April 2 at the Alamodome.

Here’s the bracket just released at ncaa.com.

Texas schools in the tournament include Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, TCU, Texas Southern, Houston, Texas A&M and Texas.

Texas Tech … The Red Raiders (24-9) are the No. 3 seed in the East Region and will be headed to Dallas to play on Thursday against 14th-seed Stephen F. Austin (28-6). The winner would play again on Saturday against sixth-seeded Florida or No. 11 UCLA or St. Bonaventure.

Stephen F. Austin … The Lumberjacks are coached by former UTSA and Texas A&M assistant Kyle Keller. In his second year with SFA, Keller led the Lumberjacks to the Southland Conference postseason title with a 59-55 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night in Katy.

TCU … The sixth-seeded Horned Frogs (21-11) will play either No. 11 Syracuse (20-13) or Arizona State (20-11) on Friday in Detroit in the Midwest Region. If TCU can win, it would draw either third-seeded Michigan State or No. 14 Bucknell.

Texas Southern … The Tigers (15-19) open with the North Carolina Central Eagles (19-15) on Wednesday in Dayton on the second day of the First Four phase of the tournament. The winner of the matchup will advance as a No. 16 seed to face West Region No. 1 Xavier on Friday night in Nashville.

Houston … The Cougars (26-7) are seeded 6th in the West, opening Thursday in Wichita, Kansas, against No. 11 San Diego State (22-10). The winner would advance to play either No. 3 Michigan or No. 14 Montana on Saturday.

Texas A&M … The Aggies (20-12) are seeded 7th in the West and will start play Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, against 10th-seeded Providence (21-13). If the Aggies advance they would face either No. 2 North Carolina or No. 15 Lipscomb on Sunday.

Texas … The Longhorns (19-14) are a No. 10 seed in the South, playing against No. 7 Nevada (27-7) on Friday in Nashville. A victory would boost them into a round of 32 game Sunday against either second-seeded Cincinnati or Georgia State.

Quotable

“This is a day we’ve looked forward to and knew it was going to happen,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told boosters Sunday night, in remarks published in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “So thanks for making it special for the players. We can’t thank you enough for your support this year. Let’s make Red Raider nation a big force in Dallas.”