ASU star James Harden was wheeling and dealing in the lane last night with just more than a minute to go against UCLA. The 11th-ranked Bruins were up by one point, and time was running out on the shot clock.
This is the kind of game that UCLA usually wins.
It seemed as if the entire Bruin team converged on Harden, whose ability to make something out of nothing will serve him well on the next level, otherwise known as the National Basketball Association.
Standing quietly in the right corner (in almost the exact spot as the photo to the left) was ASU's Derek Glasser. Harden somehow got the ball to the scrappy point guard, who fired up a three-pointer without hesitation.
Swish! The Sun Devils took a 69-67 lead, and UCLA never scored again.
Final score: 74-67, an enormous and surprising win for the local school against a perennial national power that had been on a roll in recent weeks.
The magnitude of the win cannot be easily overstated.
First, the historical picture: UCLA has won 11 NCAA titles, and has been in the last three Final Fours. ASU has won 12 NCAA tournament games its less-than-pectacular men's basketball history.
As for this season, the win pulled the Devils within one game of Pac-10 league-leading Washington and a half-game behind the usually dominant Bruins. Remarkably, ASU is but one game ahead of suddenly overachieving Arizona, which has won six games in a row in a most competitive league in which any kind of winning streak is reason to jump for joy.
The near-sellout at Wells Fargo Arena was loud, boisterous and intense, a rarity even since Coach Herb Sendek came on board a few years ago and turned the unsteady program around. This Sunday night, the USC Trojans come to town for what figures to be another tough battle.
Tickets, as they say, are available.