GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—BYU had a victory over 20th-ranked Arizona State on the tip of Charles Abouo’s fingers.
That’s where referees decided the ball was when the game ended, overturning Abouo’s basket at the buzzer and preserving the Sun Devils’ 76-75 come-from-behind victory on Saturday.
“I heard the horn as it (the ball) went in the air,” Abouo said. “That’s why I initially thought it was good.”
Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said he had a bad vantage point and couldn’t tell if the shot should have been good or not.
“Fortunately for us, it came after the buzzer, but not by much,” Sendek said. “From what I’ve been told, it was clearly the right call.”
BYU coach Dave Rose hadn’t seen replays when he talked with reporters after the game.
“When I saw the play and the ball go in, I looked at the official and the official called it good,” he said. “I was pretty excited.”
James Harden made the last of his 21 free throw attempts with nine seconds left to give Arizona State (9-1) its only lead of the second half. Harden scored 21 of his 30 points after halftime and finished 16-of-21 at the line, 13-of-18 in the second half.
“We were down, I was just looking to attack more and make a play,” Harden said, explaining his many trips to the foul line. “We were down 10, and we needed something.”
Jonathan Tavernari scored 24 for BYU (10-1). Jeff Pendergraph had 22 points and nine rebounds for the victorious Sun Devils.
The game was the second half of a doubleheader at University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and site of the NCAA West Regional next March. Minnesota beat No. 9 Louisville 70-64 in the opener.
It was the second close call in a week for Arizona State. The Sun Devils trailed by 16 at the half last Sunday before rallying to beat IUPUI 59-58 in overtime.
After Harden—who also had five steals—made one of two free throws, Jamelle McMillan blocked a layup by BYU’s Jimmer Fredette.
On the subsequent out of bounds play, Tavernari’s shot under extreme pressure was tipped fell far short, but Obouo grabbed the ball and made left-handed, over-his-head basket as the buzzer sounded.
“It was depressing,” Harden said. “After the ref changed his mind, it was my greatest feeling.”
One referee initially called the basket good, but officials waved it off after reviewing video replays as the BYU coaches and fans screamed in outrage.
They were already upset that Harden had gone to the foul line more often than the entire BYU team, which had 19 attempts.
Fredette added 16 points and Lee Cummard 13 for the Cougars, whose 10-0 start was their best in 21 years. McMillan scored 10 for Arizona State.
“We’re a top 25 team. We’re going to win our league,” Tavernari said. “We’re going to do the things we’re supposed to. This isn’t going to set us back anything.”
BYU led by as many as 10 points in the second half and was up 70-62 with 7:16 to play.
The Sun Devils outscored the Cougars 14-5 after that.
Ty Abbott, 1-for-9 from the field and 1-for-6 on 3s up to that time, sank a 3 from the corner to tie at 73-73 with 2:05 to play.
Fredette scored inside to put BYU back on top 75-73 with 1:31 remaining, then Rihards Kiksiks made a driving shot to tie it again 75-75, 58 seconds from the finish.
Travernari missed a short jumper and the Sun Devils scrambled to save the ball inbounds. The Sun Devils got the ball to Harden, who was fouled by Abouo.
Cummard, the Cougars’ leading scorer on the season, drew his second foul 7 1/2 minutes into the game and had only four points at the half.
Harden scored his team’s first nine points of the second half. His three-point play cut the lead to 58-54 with 12:41 remaining. But Harden twice missed the first half of a one-and-one free throw opportunity and BYU used an 8-2 surge to go ahead 66-56 when Tavernari made his third 3-pointer of the afternoon with 9 1/2 minutes to play.