Richmond Aririguzoh sank two free throws with 24.8 seconds remaining and Princeton held on to beat the Sun Devils 67-66 on Saturday, a week after the Sun Devils had beaten then-No. 1 Kansas on the same floor.
"We spent three days before this game out here together," the Tigers' Devin Cannady said, "and I think that brought us even closer and we believed that we could come into this game and win."
The Tigers (7-5) beat a ranked opponent for the first time since a victory over then-No. 25 Harvard in 2012. Princeton beat a top 17 team for the first time since a victory over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament in 1996. Princeton coach Mitch Henderson was a member of that Tigers team.
"As seniors, our goal since we came in as freshmen was to knock off a ranked opponent," Cannady said. "We would have liked to have had Arizona State ranked even higher after that Kansas win. But we came in with that same confidence and we checked that goal off."
Arizona State (9-3) had three shots in the final seconds to win the game. But, as was the case most of the afternoon, the ball wouldn't fall.
The Sun Devils, who hadn't played since that 80-76 win over Kansas a week ago, shot 32 percent (20-of-62) against Princeton and made only two of 15 3-pointers. The Tigers were only slightly better at 35 percent (20-of-57) but hit 10 of 31 3s.
Cannady scored 21 to lead Princeton, including 5 of 12 3s. Jerome Desrosiers added a career-best 16 points and Aririguzoh and Sebastian Much scored 13 apiece.
Romello White had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Sun Devils, who never led by more than four points. Remy Martin scored 19 for Arizona State. Rob Edwards added 11 points but made just 3 of 12 shots. The trio of Luguentz Dort, Zylan Cheatham and Kimani Lawrence were a combined 2-for-19 from the field.
"There's no positives to this at all really, that I can think of at the moment," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. "Just the kind of nonconference that we had and the level of wins that we've had, this is a step back. But if we're going to play like this, then the resume isn't going to mean a whole lot. ... You can't be one team against the No. 1 team in the country and then play this way."
It was a one possession game over the final 5:07.
Much tied it at 62-62 with a layup with 3:51 to play but Dort's two free throws put Arizona State ahead 64-62 with 3:20 left. Much responded with a 3-pointer and Princeton led 65-64. Cheatham's jumper put the Sun Devils back on top 66-65 with 2:01 to go. The Sun Devils couldn't score and Arirguzoh went up hard at the rim and was fouled by Dort. His two free throws provided the final margin of 67-66.
"Just envisioned making free throws, just calmed down, just blocked out the noise pretty much," Arirguzoh said, "and just follow the routine you've been doing since you first started playing basketball."
Edwards missed a pair of 3-point tries and Dort misfired on a jumper at the buzzer.
"They had shots at it to get the win at the very end," Henderson said. "Usually those fall, they fall at home, and they didn't tonight. So I'm so proud of those guys."
Arizona State shot 28 percent in the first half and trailed 37-30 at the break.
A terrific effort by the Tigers just two games after being blown out 101-50 at Duke. The Tigers have some shooters and play with patience. That could make them a factor in the Ivy League, especially after this heady win.
Arizona State's offense was awful most of the day and nothing fell from long range. The Sun Devils went from riding so high after beating Kansas to this humbling win at home in its final game for Pac-12 play. The Sun Devils are going to need to play a more consistent game, and much better offense, if they are truly to be the class of what looks like a down year in the Pac-12. And they can take no team for granted, obviously.
Princeton: Opens Ivy League play at home against Penn next Saturday.
Arizona St.: Begins Pac-12 play at home Thursday night against Utah.