TEMPE, AZ (CBSLA) – Throughout the history of the University of California, Riverside men’s basketball program, they have never made it to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
However, they have nearly nearly 20 appearances in the NCAA Men’s Division II Basketball Tournament, with their best result coming in 1995 when they finished as runner-up to Southern Indiana.READ MORE: Chanukah Celebrations Stress Message Of "Light Over Darkness" In Trying Times
In the time since, they have only made that tournament once in 1997. The rest of that time is mired in mediocrity and losing seasons.
Out of the 23 seasons since 1997, the Highlanders have had just three winning seasons (2008-09, 2020-21, 2019-20).
They made the jump from D-II to D-I in 2000, joining the Big West Conference.
With a fairly new head coach at the helm, UCR is hoping to return to their former days of consistent appearances in March. Mike Magpayo is in his second season with the Highlanders, already sporting a winning record, something unheard of in recent history for UCR.
Before the hiring of Magpayo, who is NCAA Division I’s first head coach of full Asian heritage, the Highlanders had gone 95-215 in BWC play. Last year they were 10-5.
As the program continues to attempt putting their losing ways in the past, they have quite possibly just written their biggest piece of history on the court since 1995.READ MORE: Authorities Investigating Fatal North Hollywood Shooting On Monday Evening
In a game that saw UCR as underdogs by 9.5 points, the Highlanders kept it close throughout. Heading into the final moments, they were tied 63-63 as the two teams traded blows until the very finish – it was then that absolute chaos occurred on the court.
ASU took the lead with 1.7 seconds left in the contest, 65-63, following a go-ahead layup from Sun Devil guard Luther Muhammad, and they were looking like they were off to a 2-0 start to the 2021-22 season.
The Desert Financial Arena fans were in a frenzy, thinking they were well on their way to a victory in front of the hometown fans.
J.P. Moorman II had other plans, draining a 70+ foot buzzer beater that soared over nearly every head on the court, giving the Highlanders the 66-65 victory. ASU’s aggressive press defense left Moorman II with more than enough space to heave up what is the longest buzzer-beater in the NCAA this season.
— Highlander Athletics (@UCR_Athletics) November 12, 2021
Moorman, a redshirt senior, finished the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds. This is Moorman’s first season with the Highlanders, after spending the previous four years with the Temple men’s basketball program before transferring to UCR.
UCR also got 18 points out of guard Flynn Cameron. ASU’s leading scorers were Kimani Lawrence (19 points) and Marcus Bagley (18 points).
ASU, now 1-1, heads into a tough stretch of games as they move on to face San Diego State and Baylor before heading into PAC-12 conference play.MORE NEWS: Undisclosed Forensic Evidence Found In Search For Heidi Planck
UCR, also now 1-1, will take on the La Sierra Golden Eagles (1-1) at home.