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Powerhouse Duke Falls To Stephen F. Austin University With Buzzer-Beating Layup

Stephen F. Austin forward Nathan Bain (23) and guard David Kachelries (4) celebrate Bain's game-winning shot against Duke in overtime Tuesday in Durham, N.C.

There were two sure bets heading into Tuesday night's basketball matchup between perennial powerhouse Duke University and Stephen F. Austin State University. One: Duke would dominate. Two: Few people outside of Nacogdoches, Texas, could confidently say where the smaller school's campus is located.

But after a stunning overtime buzzer-beating layup, not only did the unranked Lumberjacks shock the No.1 Blue Devils in a nail biting 85-83 finish, but Stephen F. Austin did something no other college basketball program outside the Atlantic Coast Conference has done in nearly two decades — beat Duke on its home floor.

The final sequence unfolded in dramatic fashion. With the game tied at 83 and 14 seconds left in overtime, Duke corralled a rebound after a missed shot from the wing. Duke swung the ball out to top of the 3-point line to set up for the final shot.

Duke drove toward the basket, and a bounce pass got deflected. Players scrambled for the loose ball.

The Lumberjacks' Gavin Kensmil dived for it, wrested control and, from the seat of his pants, flipped the ball to his teammate Nathan Bain. With 3.1 seconds left, Bain sprinted the three-quarters of the court toward his hoop with nothing but open floor in front of him.

With .07 seconds left, Bain elevated with Duke's Jack White leaping virtually simultaneously to try to swat away his layup from behind. By the time the two men came crashing down to the floor, it was over. Bain's layup was good and the Lumberjacks had a win for the ages.

Stephen F. Austin's Bain watches the game-winning basket as Duke forward Jack White attempts to defend.
Gerry Broome / AP
Stephen F. Austin's Bain watches the game-winning basket as Duke forward Jack White attempts to defend.

The faces of Duke fans crumpled in unison.

The Blue Devils were projected to win by more than 27 points, ESPN reports. The sports network also adds that Stephen F. Austin was at one point trailing by 15 points, when it fought back and tied the game with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation. After the game Bain explained how the final seconds of overtime unfolded from his vantage point, according to ESPN:

"I saw my teammate grab it, and I looked up at the clock. We had about 2.6 seconds," Bain told the network. "I was like, 'I have to get on my horse.' I went as fast as I can to try to lay it up. It's like a layup drill. I could feel the dude on my back, and I just prayed it [would] go in."

Duke forward Matthew Hurt (21) and guard Cassius Stanley (2) react following the team's loss to Stephen F. Austin in overtime.
Gerry Broome / AP
Duke forward Matthew Hurt (21) and guard Cassius Stanley (2) react following the team's loss to Stephen F. Austin in overtime.

The win over Duke is easily the most significant win in Stephen F. Austin's history, according to The Associated Press. It adds:

"This Duke team didn't have the feeling of invincibility that some of its predecessors had, in part because it committed at least 16 turnovers in three of its first six games. The Blue Devils' offense was completely flummoxed at times by the Lumberjacks' unrelenting pressure, and as a result, their run at No. 1 will end after two weeks."

With Tuesday' loss, Duke is the third top-ranked team to lose this season. And it's not even Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: November 27, 2019 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous version of this story misspelled the Texas town of Nacogdoches as Nacodoches.