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Texas buzzer beater ends ASU season; knocks Sun Devils out of NCAA tournament

(Photo courtesy: ASU Athletics)

Arizona State lost to Texas 87-85 Thursday night on a buzzer beater courtesy of Texas center Cameron Ridley’s off hand in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Playing in their first NCAA tournament game since 2009, ASU clawed together a suspenseful game on a day that saw so many other games go in the same route.

ASU and Texas did not cheat viewers of theatrics down the stretch.

The Sun Devils also did not possess the lead for the majority of the game Thursday, but began to trade baskets with UT as the clock neared triple zeros.

With under a minute remaining Jahii Carson drove into the interior, left his feet as he floated under the basket and assisted an unsuspecting Jordan Bachynski to give ASU a 83-82 lead.

On the next possession an air-ball by Texas’ Javan Felix was rebounded and thrown in for an and-one by Jonathan Holmes where the forward made the free throw to move the score to 85-83 in the Longhorns’ favor.

Jermaine Marshall emerged from his shooting slump in this game against the Longhorns. The senior wingman scored 19 points, many of which came from his 4 for 8 shooting night from behind the three point line.

Marshall’s eigth three-point attempt came with about 21 seconds remaining but the Penn State transfer and now former ASU basketball shooting guard couldn’t put the ball through the hoop. It was however rebounded by Jon Gilling who was fouled and awarded two free throws.

The junior forward made both of his shots from the charity stripe which tied the contest at 85-85 with 17 seconds remaining.

One possession left in regulation and the Longhorns dribbled down the clock to the result of Holmes missing his shot attempt.

However, no ASU player rebounded the ball. Ridley was able to pick the basketball off of the ground, hook it off the backboard and through the rim as the buzzer sounded.

ASU head coach Herb Sendek noted earlier in the week that Ridley has, “tremendous hands.”

Those nimble hands are what ultimately ended the Sun Devils’ season.

This game would not have been close down the stretch had it not been for an ASU 18-7 run that included two Jermaine Marshall and-ones, two Jon Gilling three-pointers, and a drawn charge by Gilling to bring the score to 68-65 Texas.

Texas’ previously great lead came largely from the play of Cameron Ridley.

The 285-pound sophomore led Texas with 17 points and 12 rebounds, five of which were secured on the offensive end.

He did however face a challenge on both ends of the court.

ASU had “forgotten” about Bachynski in the post at certain times this season. Texas’ commitment to giving Ridley the ball on offense forced ASU to make the center work on defense by giving Bachynski the ball on the block.

The ASU center had a game high 25 points as well as seven rebounds and a single block.

“When engaged in boxing out we got to have people rebounding,” Bachynski stated Monday about situations such as the end of the game.

In a season where teams like Marquette and the University of Arizona had wins nullified by walk-off blocks by Bachynski, the seven footer was neither able to rebound or block the shot that would have extended the Sun Devils’ season by at least five more minutes.

You can reach this author via email or on Twitter @CammeronNeely

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