A Bahamian is at the center of the heart of college basketball in America, hitting the game-winning shot to help the Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Lumberjacks record the biggest upset this season and seal arguably the biggest win in program history.
In overtime with the score deadlocked at 83, Nathan Bain took a pass from teammate Gavin Kensmil who had collected a loose ball from the floor, sprinted past a defender and raced to the hoop toward the other end of the court. He banked in the game-winning layup as time expired, and dedicated the win to the hurricane-stricken country of The Bahamas afterward. In total, Bain finished with 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the stunning 85-83 overtime win over top ranked Duke on the Blue Devils’ home court, Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, USA. The Blue Devils had won their first six games of the season prior to Tuesday night, and was the consensus No. 1 team in the country. They’re now the third No. 1 team to lose this season. The unranked Lumberjacks, who finished below .500 last season, improved to a 5-1 win-loss record after the stunning victory on Tuesday night.
Bain, one of just a handful of Bahamians in college basketball this season, fought back tears after the emotional win. He hails from Freeport, Grand Bahama, one of two islands in the Northern Bahamas that was ravaged by Category 5 storm Hurricane Dorian at the beginning of September. Bain said on national television after his win that this victory is for the people of The Bahamas, particularly Grand Bahama and Abaco, and for the Stephen F. Austin community that embraced him during difficult times.
“I’m trying real hard not to get emotional, but my family lost a lot this year and I’m just playing this game for them,” he said. “I just want to make my country proud. The whole team was behind me in this one. It was a team effort and we pulled through. I love The Bahamas.”
Bain’s shot will go down as one of the more memorable in college basketball in quite a while. It secured the first win by a non-ranked power conference team on Duke’s home floor since Wagner beat the Blue Devils in 1983.
The Lumberjacks had four players in double figures, led by senior guard Kevon Harris with 26 points. He added four assists and three steals. Cameron Johnson scored 16 points and added two steals off the bench and Kensmil helped out with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Bain was their next highest scorer with 11, but hit the biggest shot of the night, at the buzzer in overtime to give the Lumberjacks the win.
Vernon Carey Jr. led Duke with 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. Tre Jones added 17 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and four steals, and Matthew Hurt and Cassius Stanley dropped in 15 apiece.
The Lumberjacks were aggressive all night, particularly in the second half. They forced a whopping 22 turnovers from the Duke Blue Devils and converted those takeaways into 22 points on the offensive end of the floor. Bain and Harris led the way individually with three steals apiece for the Lumberjacks. Bain added five rebounds and two assists.
The Lumberjacks rallied from a 15-point deficit in the first half to pull to within five, 45-40 at the break. They kept battling back and eventually pulled even at 62 on a layup from Johnson. From that point, the game went back and forth. Kensmil made a layup with 19 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 81, and Duke missed two potential game-winning shots in the waning seconds.
Neither team could get much offense going in the five-minute overtime session. Johnson hit a layup with 2:58 remaining to give the Lumberjacks the lead, and Carey answered for Duke with a layup at the 2:14 mark. Bain’s breakaway layup as time expired sealed the thrilling win for the Lumberjacks.
There wasn’t any huge disparity in the game other than the Lumberjacks forcing 22 turnovers while committing just 14 themselves. The Lumberjacks cleaned up on the offensive glass, collecting 11 offensive boards in the game.
Duke had never lost to a non-major team when ranked No. 1 until Tuesday, and the win ended Duke’s 150-game non-conference home-winning streak.
The Blue Devils entered the game as 27.5-point favorites, making the Lumberjacks’ win the biggest National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I upset in the past 15 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.