Arizona State loses on 60-foot heave at buzzer by UC Riverside

Nov 11, 2021, 9:03 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2021, 12:04 pm

Well, that’s a rough way to get your first loss of the season.

Arizona State  (1-1) fell to UC Riverside (1-1) at home on Thursday night 66-65 when the Highlanders’ J.P. Moorman II converted on a shot well beyond half court at the buzzer.

It was a funky ending to the game, as ASU guard Luther Muhammad made the go-ahead bucket with 1.7 seconds left to put the score at 65-63.

But as UC Riverside went to inbound the ball without any timeouts, the clock started running again before the Highlanders even got to pass the ball in. The officials spotted it and blew the play dead, going to the scorer’s table to quickly get the clock back to 1.7 seconds remaining.

The refs did it in under 30 seconds, but it was enough time to allow UC Riverside to draw up a play in a huddle. As the inbounds pass was thrown, the clock ran again, this time as the pass came through the air. It’s not supposed to start until it touches a player, so the refs once again blew the whistles and reset everything.

“The one downside is that they got three chances to do that last play that they did score on, which is a little bit disappointing,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley told reporters. “We deflected the first one, which would have effectively ended the game.

“(Arizona State forward Alonzo) Gaffney got a tip on it and then they threw it off the kids hands and it went out of bounds, but we didn’t get the clock organized so they kept resetting the game and there you have it. Tough way to lose, guys are very disappointed but I just thought (UC Riverside) played better overall.”

There was no Grant Hill to Christian Laettner touchdown pass from the Highlanders, as all they did was complete the pass to Moorman about 25 feet up the court near the left baseline. Moorman’s defender, ASU forward Marcus Bagley, went for the steal, which at least gave Moorman an uncontested look at the basket.

He took advantage of it with a tremendous make from just about 60 feet to win the game.

“Stupidest play of my career,” Bagley told reporters after the game. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I should’ve let him catch it and get a hand up to contest the shot, it was just instinct to go for the ball and I thought I had the angle on it. I’ll learn from it now.”

The loss especially stings for the Sun Devils considering they could have put the game away. After UC Riverside led by two at halftime, ASU was up two with 5:51 left and proceeded to score only six points the rest of the way. Muhammad’s shot was the only field goal in that stretch.

The Highlanders used a 10-for-20 (50.0%) three-point shooting performance in the first half to compete with ASU early and assisted 19 of their 23 made baskets.

Sun Devils senior forward Kimani Lawrence led all scorers with 19 points.

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