ASU’s Desmond Cambridge Jr. hits half-court buzzer-beater to upset No. 7 Arizona
Feb 25, 2023, 2:41 PM | Updated: Feb 27, 2023, 9:17 am
The Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball team upset the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats 89-88 on Saturday at McKale Center in the most improbable of fashions.
With two seconds left and ASU down by two, an inbounds pass to Desmond Cambridge Jr. resulted in this half-court buzzer-beater:
ONE OF THE BEST WINS IN ASU MEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY! @dezcambridgejr WITH THE SHOT OF HIS LIFE!
— State of the Sun Devils (@AZSportsDevils) February 25, 2023
“I did not think that shot was going in,” Cambridge Jr. told reporters postgame. “I just wanted to have a nice miss and everyone in the crowd go, ‘ohhh!’ Once it went in, I literally could only scream because I couldn’t make sense of it.”
Here is how the call sounded on Sun Devil Radio by Tim Healey and Kyle Dodd:
The great @TimHealeyASU calls the Miracle at McKale!
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) February 25, 2023
It was almost a familiar tale for the Sun Devils, who led 46-45 at halftime but saw the Wildcats’ lead go as high as 10 in the second half.
But unlike previous games against Arizona and UCLA where ASU’s offense sputtered out down the stretch, Cambridge Jr. and Co. capitalized on a 6.5-minute stretch in which the Wildcats failed to score a single field goal. That resulted in a 16-5 run from 6:30 to 2:30 that saw numerous lead changes in the final minutes.
“A lot of people were jumping ship and thinking we’re not that team, but we are that team and the guys proved it tonight by going toe to toe with a team like Arizona on their home floor this late in the season,” Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley told reporters.
The game was dead even from a statistical perspective, as ASU shot 54% from the field, 39% from three-point range (11-for-28) and 60% from the free throw line. Compare that to Arizona’s 51-42-68 mark, which featured an 11-of-26 clip from beyond the arc.
But the biggest differentiator was the free-throw attempt disparity, with the Wildcats leading in attempts 24-10. Coincidentally, it was Oumar Ballo’s 1-for-2 split at the charity stripe with two seconds left in the game that allowed Cambridge Jr.’s heave to take the lead. Some would argue Ballo should have intentionally missed his second free throw attempt.
“We were sitting on pocket aces and it happens sometimes,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd told reporters postgame.
Cambridge Jr. finished tied with Arizona forward Cedric Henderson Jr. for a game-high 19 points.
DJ Horne added 18 for ASU, while Warren Washinton scored 16 and Jamiya Neal had 12 off the bench.
Meanwhile, for the Wildcats, Azuolas Tubelis scored 17, Courtney Ramey had 14, Pelle Larsson put up 16 and Kerr Kriisa finished with 10.
– Arizona State remains a perfect 10-0 this season when it shoots 46% or better.
– Sun Devils true freshman guard Austin Nunez did not play due to a concussion.
ASU heads to Los Angeles to take on No. 4 UCLA on Thursday at 7 p.m. and USC on Saturday at 9 p.m.
Both games can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.