NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (KTRE) - The SFA men’s basketball team left the Pineywoods Monday morning with their destination being historic Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The 4-1 Lumberjacks will take on nationally-ranked No.1, 6-0, Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night. This is the first-ever trip to Duke for the Lumberjacks. While many see this game as not winnable, earlier this season, Evansville beat nationally-ranked Kentucky. Evansville was a 25 point underdog.
“We put our shorts on the same way they do,” senior Kevon Harris said. “We are going out their to win and compete.”
KTRE Sports Director Caleb Beames caught up with Coach Kyle Keller before they left.
“it is no bigger then any other game we are going to play,” Keller said. “It is no bigger then the conference games we are going to play. It is a game that we are going to figure out who we are. We are going to play in the toughest environment of all of college basketball. We are going to be tested for sure.”
The SFA program has rose to one of the most highly respected lower mid-major programs in the country. Both SFA and Duke can claim some of the top home court advantages in the country since the turn of the new century. SFA has gone to 5 national tournaments while Duke has won that same number of national titles, appearing in 11 titles games.
“We are not going there not to win,” Keller said. “It is an honor to go play Duke and we appreciate the opportunity. Our kids are going to go out there and fight and expect to win. That is why we play. You have to enjoy it. You have to embrace it and have fun with it and make memories. This is chapter 6 in 31 chapters for us and you never know what to expect. I have never been to Cameron except walking through on recruiting. The banner will not beat us. Those five players between the 94 feet will.We have to take opportunities where we have and go head to head with those guys.”
The team said while they know what this game means to the fan base they must stay focused on the bigger picture.
“They have one of the best coaches and programs in history,” Junior Gavin kensmill said. 'Yeah we are going to be hyped for this game. Obviously we are going to face adversity throughout the season. We are just fighting through it together and winning step by step."
Tip off at Duke on Tuesday is set for 8 pm.