When the Arizona State Sun Devils played host to the UC Riverside Highlanders, everybody had one question: What's a Highlander?
According to UCR's student life page, here's where the term Highlander originated:
"Though numerous nominations for a campus mascot 'including Rocks, Tigers, and Aphids' were presented to UCR's charter students in 1954, 'Hylander' emerged from a spirited write-in campaign. Later changed to 'Highlander,' the theme acknowledged the campus' elevation relative to the rest of the city."
Another fun fact: UC Riverside can shoot well from behind the arc.
Arizona State found out the hard way in its 66-65 loss to UC Riverside on Thursday night.
It was another slow start for the Sun Devils, who again began the night shooting 1-for-7 from the field.
Yet, the story of the first half came at the hands of the Highlanders' ability to shoot three-pointers, converting 10 of 20 (50%) attempts prior to taking a 34-32 lead into the break. All but four points came from their tremendous shooting from downtown.
As for Arizona State, the Sun Devils led for only one minute in the first half when the score was briefly 18-16.
Marcus Bagley led the way with 10 points in the first half, and also had two rebounds and an assist.
Arizona State took a 40-38 lead early in the second half thanks to improved defense, which featured a full-court press in an attempt to slow UCR down. That worked in the Sun Devils favor, as UCR made 2 of 5 shots from three-point land in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
Arizona State forward Alonzo Gaffney had four blocks on the night, dominating the paint whenever the Highlanders chose to enter.
The Sun Devils managed a slim lead following the 16-minute mark in the second half, without seeing a tie game for nearly 10 minutes before retaking a 59-57 lead with 5:52 left.
However, Arizona State slowly saw the lead disappear, after a UCR three-pointer, giving the Highlanders a 62-61 lead with 2:23 remaining. The game was quickly tied and went down to the wire, as the Highlanders took possession with 37.5 seconds left, but were unable to convert on a three-point attempt from the corner.
The Sun Devils gained possession with 14.3 seconds on the clock, and guard Luther Muhammad ensured Arizona State would remain undefeated at 2-0 with a floater good with 1.7 seconds left to win the game.
That was what everybody in the arena thought. However, what UC Riverside pulled off next will likely go down in school history as one of the greatest shots ever, a buzzer beating shot that traveled well over half court before finding nothing but net.
Arizona State now will have a break, with the next game coming at home on Monday night against North Florida.