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Arizona State defeats Arizona with 89-88 win in Tucson

How Desmond Cambridge Jr.’s buzzer-beater from beyond half court kept ASU’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive

ARIZONA, USA — Call it “The McKale Mary” or “The Miracle at McKale” or “The Shot Heard Around Arizona” or, simply, a flat-out classic rivalry game. Whatever you want to call it, Arizona State’s Desmond Cambridge Jr. delivered a moment Sun Devil basketball fans won't soon forget.

The unranked Sun Devils, with their NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, pulled off a stunning upset over number No. 7 Arizona in Tucson on Saturday afternoon. Cambridge Jr.’s three-point shot from beyond half court at the buzzer sealed the 89-88 win over rival U of Arizona on national television.

Down two with less than three seconds left in regulation, Cambridge Jr.’s desperation heave silenced the always-raucous crowd at McKale Center, but the fifth-year guard said making that shot is nothing new.

“If I'm being completely honest, I make those shots all the time. I really just wanted to be a nice miss and everyone in the crowd go ‘ooh!’ And when it went in, I could only scream because it still doesn't make sense to me that that happened,” Cambridge said. “When I go and replay that moment, that’s probably going to be the best moment of my life.”

Cambridge Jr. led ASU in scoring with 19 points while dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds. His brother, Devan, recorded two of ASU’s five blocks and senior DJ Horne finished with 18 points and a game-high seven assists.

“I've seen him [Cambridge Jr.] make a shot like that before so all bets were with him,” Horne said. “I knew it was good.”

The Sun Devils improve to 20-9 (11-7 Pac-12) with just two games remaining before the conference tournament in Las Vegas in March. The Sun Devils are just one win away from earning to first-round bye in the upcoming PAC 12 tournament.

“I hope people are watching to see the level of the game. That's what the postseason asks for,” Hurley said. “They want teams that could perform like that.”

The loss drops U of Arizona to 24-5 with all five of their losses coming against Pac-12 opponents. The Wildcats are second in the conference standings behind No. 4 UCLA (24-4, 15-2 Pac-12). The Wildcats have two road games at USC and UCLA to close out the regular season.

“It was just one of those, two or three percent chances and hey, good for the kid,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said. “I mean, it was a heck of a shot.”

The Wildcats and their fans know this loss doesn't stem from one single play, especially when you realize the Sun Devils held the Wildcats to a single field goal in the final seven minutes of regulation. Cedric Henderson Jr. led U of Arizona in scoring with 19 points on Senior Day with Azoulas Tubelis dropping 17 points while grabbing a game-high nine rebounds.

“We had a 10-point lead with five minutes left in the game and we didn't handle business,” Arizona guard Courtney Ramey said. “They did a good job of fighting back.

This was ASU’s first win at McKale Center as an unranked team in 30 tries. In addition to keeping the team’s March Madness hopes alive, head coach Bobby Hurley earned $25,000 bonus with ASU recording its 20th win of the season. Confidence is soaring at the perfect time, with two pivotal road games at UCLA and USC coming up this week.

“Put some respect on it because we're fixing to make some noise in this Pac-12 Tournament and we’re fixing to the NCAA Tournament and do what we do,” Cambridge Jr. said.

ASU’s last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2019 and it was short-lived after a first-round loss to Buffalo. Last season, Stanford’s buzzer-beater eliminated ASU in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. After stunning their rivals in Tucson, Hurley and his Sun Devils will be looking to shock the world come tourney time.

Follow the conversation with Lina Washington on Twitter: @LWashingtonTV. If you have a sports story idea, e-mail Lina at LWashington@12News.com.


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