TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State forward Alex Austin got caught up in the excitement of the overtime Saturday and put up a shot with seven seconds to play.
Not the best idea when his team had a one-point lead and five seconds were left on the shot clock. Austin missed.
UCLA forward Jerald Jones came down with the rebound, and the Bruins had plenty of time to dribble to their end and put the ball in the hands of Reggie Miller, one of the country's best shooters.
Miller beat the buzzer by two seconds with what is, for him, a routine 25-footer from the right side.
Miller missed, too.
That only begins to explain how Arizona State managed to beat UCLA, 74-73, in one of the ugliest overtime games ever played.
It was also one of the most boring overtime games ever played. The sparse audience of 4,283 at the Activity Center didn't wake up until the Sun Devils lost the ball on a controversial five-second call as they tried to put the ball inbounds with two seconds to play and the score tied, 65-65, in regulation.
Miller also beat the regulation buzzer with a shot that could have won it for the Bruins, but he missed that one, too.
In fact, Miller missed 10 shots (making 6 of 16) and still managed to finish with 21 points.
None of the statistics made much sense in this game. For example, the winning team shot only 39.7% from the field and 58.8% from the line. And Arizona State's Mark Carlino, who made the free throw on a three-point play to give his team the winning margin, is his team's worst free-throw shooter (34%).
Even more hard to believe, it was the home team, the team that eventually won, that seemed to be getting the short end of every close call when the game was on the line.
The fact remains, Arizona State won its second straight game to run its home record to 11-1, and UCLA lost its second straight game to drop its road record to 1-8.
UCLA's record fell to 11-10 overall, 6-6 and out of the running for the Pacific 10 lead. Arizona State rose to 12-11 overall, 6-7 in the conference.
Arizona State Coach Steve Patterson thought he got a bad call in a package deal on that key five-second ruling. He said the official counted a very quick five seconds when he should have been calling a foul on Miller.
Miller was guarding Carlino, trying to keep him from getting the ball inbounds for a final shot in regulation. Carlino made a couple of quick darts back-and-forth on the baseline. On one about-face move, Miller knocked down ASU guard Arthur Thomas.
Meanwhile, Carlino was trying to call a timeout.
Patterson looked for the foul call and instead saw the official taking the ball out of Carlino's hands and pointing toward the Bruin end of the court.
Patterson said: "It was a nightmare. It was a double nightmare. You think you're going to get a foul call, and instead, they have the ball."
Miller said: "That was pretty tricky of Patterson to have that guy sneak up on me like that. I had no idea he was there."
Of course, Miller did not think he fouled Thomas, anyway.
UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard didn't think it was a quick five-second call, either. He thought that call was good. But he chose to make no further comment about the officiating.
UCLA lost two key players to fouls. Guard Montel Hatcher had 10 points when he fouled out with 4:55 to play. Forward Craig Jackson had 15 rebounds and 11 points when he fouled out with 2:55 left. Freshman forward Pooh Richardson played the last 6:21 of regulation and all of the overtime with four fouls.
Arizona State used guard Steve Beck and center Tarre Isiah with four fouls but lost forward Dave Kleckner on five fouls with 4:17 to play.
Kleckner had been instrumental in holding Miller to just six baskets, but Miller did get nine free throws as a result of all the fouls Kleckner picked up trying to stop his shot.
Patterson said: "I thought that Kleckner did a good job defensively on Reggie. But Reggie is so quick that you don't just stop him.
"Reggie is a tremendous player. I just saw that last one going in."
Fortunately for Patterson, it was just a mirage.
Miller said: "Yeah, of course, I wanted the ball for that last shot. I always want the ball in all those situations. I was calling for the ball. "I made a mistake when I looked at the clock just before I shot it. I was thinking that we had some time. I looked at the clock and I thought I saw 14 seconds. Then all of a sudden, I thought, wow, it's four seconds, and I hurried it.
"If I hadn't been thinking like that, I could have taken another couple of seconds."
Hazzard, for one, didn't think the Bruins would have that much time to get off a shot to win the game.
There was a two-second difference between the game clock (47 seconds to play after Richardson made a 16-footer) and ASU's shot clock (45 seconds). If the Sun Devils had held the ball until the shot clock was gone, UCLA would not have had much of a chance at a decent final shot.
As Hazzard put it: "Austin did us a big favor by taking that shot. It gave us another opportunity to win the ballgame."
But the Bruins had several opportunities and didn't take advantage of any of them. UCLA had led by as many as eight points toward the end of the first half and still led, 36-31, at halftime.
After a 15-footer by center Jack Haley, UCLA was in front, 46-41, with 12:47 to play.
But the Sun Devils stayed close by tipping in second- and third-chance rebounds and, despite missing as many as they made, added enough free throws down the stretch to close the gap.