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NCAA Tournament: New Mexico State Aggies fall short in upset bid, lose 78-77 to Auburn

Auburn won in our first thriller of the day.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Auburn vs New Mexico State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico State pushed Auburn to the limit, literally to the final seconds. The Tigers defeated the Aggies, 78-77, but it was anything but easy.

The game was close mainly due to the Aggies’ bench. It combined for 51 points in a game when both teams shot hot from everywhere on the court. The Aggies shot 49 percent from the floor as Auburn hit 12 three-pointers, a school record for the NCAA Tournament.

Ivan Aurrecoechea and Johnny McCants were huge for New Mexico State. McCants scored 16 for the Aggies while Aurrecoechea tallied 13 points. Both players rarely missed and gave Auburn nightmares all game long.

After an AJ Harris layup with 50 seconds left, things got crazy. Down by five with 45 seconds left, McCants made a free throw that cut the lead down to four points. Trevelin Queen quickly stole the ball from Chuma Okeke and the Aggies had the ball AGAIN. He hit a three and the Aggies were down by one. Auburn made it four after some clutch free throws. Yet that didn’t matter as JoJo Zamora made a three for the Aggies with eight seconds left, cutting the lead to one again.

With one second left Terrell Brown was fouled, sending him to the free throw line for three shots. He only made one. Then, after Auburn hit it out of bounds, Trevelin Queen had an open look at the buzzer but did not connect.

The Tigers survived by one point, snapping NMSU’s 19-game winning streak.

This is March.