Freshman Zytarious Mortle’s tip-in with three seconds left in overtime was the game-winning score as the Texas Southern University men’s basketball team upset previously unbeaten Arizona State University 67-66 in the debut edition of the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series.
Mortle was able to make up for missing a free throw in the waning seconds of regulation when the game was tied at 57-57.
Texas Southern (1-2) trailed by one with 56 seconds remaining in overtime, but John Walker III drained a basket off an assist from P.J. Henry with 38 seconds to go in overtime to regain the lead back.
ASU’s Frankie Collins drilled a couple free throws at the 30-second mark before Mortle’s heroics sent the TSU bench and crowd into a frenzy.
Near the end of regulation, Henry stroked a three of his team-best 22 points to tie the game at 57-57 with 32 seconds to play.
The Tigers got off to a blazing start by taking a 5-0 lead on a layup from Davon Barnes, a dunk from Joirdan Karl Nicholas and a free throw from Henry before the first media timeout and holding ASU head coach Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils scoreless.
Walker III’s three-pointer at the 13:55 mark of the first half put the Tigers up 8-4, but ASU would respond with a 13-2 run that was capped off by a D.J. Horne three with 7:33 to go before the halftime break.
The Sun Devils looked to be on the verge of the game’s first double-digit lead near the end of the first half, but the Tigers clawed their way back into the thick of things with a pair of jumpers from Walker III to cut the ASU lead down to 28-24 at the half.
TSU scored on the first possession of the second half on a long range shot from Henry to pull the Tigers to within 28-27.
The scoring barrage from TSU continued all the way until Barnes converted a layup with 18:19 for a 12-0 run to go up 32-28.
Games with numerous runs are typically won by the team with the most sustained scoring streak and so it would be easy to assume Arizona State ultimately victorious, but as many know, you can’t assume everything will go the same way all the time.
ASU led by as many as 12 when up 51-39 with just 7:57 left in the game, but the Tigers were not going to simply roll over and allow the Power-Five school to come into their own den and take control.
Henry put his teammates on his back and carried them back into a position to win as he scored eight of 10 consecutive TSU points to bring the Sun Devils’ lead down to 51-49.
Neither team would go up by more than two possessions and before the climactic finish to regulation thanks to Henry’s three-pointer.
The loss for Hurley and the Sun Devils was the first time they had ever been defeated by the Tigers and the first time the two squads faced off since Dec. 28, 2019.
It was also the first time that TSU had hosted a Pac-12 school since 1993 when current TSU Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Kevin Granger faced Jason Kidd and California inside the H&PE Arena.
The loss for the Sun Devils also marks the first time in school history that Arizona State had lost to a SWAC school.
Collins led all scorers with 23 points while fellow Sun Devil Warren Washington collected the game’s only double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Henry’s 22 points were accompanied by four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Walker III put up 16 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist while Mortle finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Nicholas narrowly missed a double-double of his own as his tallied nine points and hauled in nine rebounds. TSU won the battle of the boards by outrebounding Arizona State 50-41 including 16-10 on offensive rebounds.
The Tigers will get to play a second home game at the H&PE Arena before embarking on a four-game road trip over the rest of November. Oral Roberts will face TSU on Tuesday, Nov. 15, with the tipoff slated for 7 p.m. CST.