Arizona State shocked its biggest rival in dramatic fashion.
The Sun Devils trailed No. 7 Arizona, 88-86, in the final seconds on Saturday in Tucson when Desmond Cambridge Jr. made a play to both win the game and potentially alter his team’s NCAA tournament chances in a big way.
After a free throw from Arizona’s Oumar Ballo put the Wildcats up 88-86 with 2.9 seconds remaining, Cambridge received the ensuing inbounds pass and fired up a shot from just beyond half-court.
He drilled it, giving Arizona State an improbable 89-88 victory as time expired.
ARIZONA STATE WITH THE STUNNER‼️
The Sun Devils upset #7 Arizona with a shot beyond the half-court at the buzzer 😱pic.twitter.com/6Dt5zlmQ3X
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 25, 2023
Arizona State snapped a five-game losing streak to Arizona and was a double-digit underdog entering Saturday’s game. ASU had a one-point lead at halftime but ended up trailing for much of the second half.
Despite falling behind, ASU stayed within striking distance and even retook the lead, 84-83, with a DJ Horne 3-pointer with 1:49 to play. But a layup from Pelle Larsson put Arizona back in front, 87-86, at the 29-second mark to put the pressure back on ASU.
On the next possession, a Horne jumper rimmed out. Ballo corralled the rebound and was sent to the free-throw line with just 2.9 seconds to go. Ballo was shooting just 57.6% from the line entering Saturday’s game, and he clanked the first one. Ballo hit the second, which allowed ASU to set up a desperation inbounds play.
Cambridge got a running start when he received the inbounds pass, took a dribble and launched a shot from at least 50 feet out. Cambridge, a career 29.5% shooter from long distance, nailed the shot.
It was his first and only 3-pointer of the day, and it won the game for the Sun Devils.
With the win, Arizona State improved to 20-9 overall and 11-7 in Pac-12 play. ASU has won four of its last five, but still has work to do to get into the NCAA tournament.
Beating a top-10 team on the road is a good start. And two more Quad 1 opportunities remain before the conference tournament. ASU will round out its regular season schedule with two more road games — at No. 4 UCLA and at USC.
If the Sun Devils keep winning, the selection committee may have a tough time keeping them out of the field. If that happens, Cambridge’s shot will be looked at as the moment that changed the trajectory of ASU’s season.
The loss for Arizona, meanwhile, will likely doom the team's chances of capturing the regular season Pac-12 title. If UCLA wins any of its final three regular season games, the Bruins will win the league.