After falling short of sky-high expectations last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils entered the 2021-22 campaign with more modest fanfare. Bobby Hurley’s team opened the season with a Tuesday night win over Portland in breezy fashion and, at times on Thursday, it looked as if Arizona State would improve to 2-0 in non-conference play by toppling the UC Riverside Highlanders. However, the Sun Devils were stunned as the buzzer sounded in Tempe, with UC Riverside forward J.P. Moorman II knocking down a 60-foot heave to secure the upset victory.
BUZZER-BEATING GAME-WINNER FROM PAST HALF-COURT pic.twitter.com/OmBiUvEzzC
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 12, 2021
In the moments following the play, videos made the rounds in chronicling the play, including a view from inside the building that added to the drama.
UC Riverside with a stunning half-court buzzer beater to win it 66-65. Absolutely insane final shot. pic.twitter.com/NjIGQdpxEZ
— PHNX Sun Devils (@PHNX_SunDevils) November 12, 2021
And the UC Riverside radio call was also spectacular.
AS CALLED ON UC RIVERSIDE RADIO: pic.twitter.com/fgBXNXR8zj
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) November 12, 2021
Moorman II finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, and he shot 4-of-8 from three-point range. It was not as if the visiting Highlanders put together an offensive showing for the ages, scoring only 66 points including the buzzer-beater, but this one shot was enough to pick up a landmark victory.
On the Arizona State side, this one has to sting. Not only is it a loss to a mid-major opponent, but the Sun Devils endured some self-inflicted issues in the game, including 39 percent shooting and nearly as many turnovers (10) as assists (12). In the grand scheme, this result may not swing Arizona State’s season in a negative direction, but it is certainly a moment to be cherished for Moorman II and the UC Riverside men’s basketball program.