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Late basket waived off as Arizona State survives BYU

Dec 21, 2008 - 6:48 AM GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- With one controversial officiating call, Arizona State dealt Brigham Young its first loss of the season.

James Harden scored 30 points as No. 17 Arizona State benefited from a questionable call for a 76-75 victory over BYU on Saturday.

After surrendering a late lead, the Cougars seemed to have pulled off an improbable victory with a buzzer-beater. Jonathan Tavernari's go-ahead attempt was blocked by Jamelle McMillan, but BYU freshman Charles Abouo jumped up wildly and tipped it in right as the buzzer sounded.

"There's no way that he just made this," Arizona State forward Jeff Pendergraph told the Arizona Republic of his first reaction to the final play. "This better not be turning into no dang Cinderella story. They ain't making a movie out of this game."

While it was originally ruled a basket, the officials reviewed the play and determined otherwise - a call that will no doubt spark plenty of controversy among BYU faithful considering the inconclusiveness of the replay.

"It was very exciting when they called the shot good and we thought we had won," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "It was obviously disappointing when the call was reversed."

As it stands, the Sun Devils (9-1) came away with a stunner after rallying back from a 10-point deficit.

After trailing for the entirety of the second half, Arizona State finally pulled even on Ty Abbott's 3-pointer with 2:18 on the clock. BYU regained the lead on Jimmer Fredette's layup, but the Sun Devils answered once again on their ensuing possession, tying things at 75-75 on Richard Kuksiks' jumper.

Harden buried what turned out to be the game-winning free throw with nine seconds remaining.

The Cougars had a pair of chances to win it in the final seconds but got off a pair of misguided and off-balance shots. Fredette clumsily pulled up and threw up a shot that was easily swatted away by McMillan. After the ball went out of bounds, BYU got one last chance but McMillan blocked Tavernari and the refs took care of the rest.

Harden was 7-of-13 from the floor and 16-of-21 from the foul line for Arizona State, adding six rebounds and six assists. Pendergraph collected 22 points and nine boards.

"We played well for stretches against a very good team," Rose said. "We did make some mistakes down the stretch but they are things we can correct. We'll work hard in practice to get better and be ready for our next game."

Tavernari led BYU (10-1) with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-9 from the arc.