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NMSU falls one point short after late misses cost them against Auburn

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team fell 78-77 against Auburn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after a dramatic finish.

With just over one second on the clock and his team down 78-76, NMSU guard Terrell Brown was fouled on a three-pointer.

He went to the line with a chance to potentially win the game if he made all three free throws, but he was only able to connect on one of his three attempts.

However, after he missed the third free throw, Auburn knocked the rebound out-of-bounds, giving NMSU the ball back trailing 78-77 with about a second to play still.

Trevelin Queen found himself free for a split second in the corner on the ensuing inbounds, but his shot was off the mark, and Auburn escaped with a one-point win after a back-and-forth contest.

The Aggies stormed out of the gates and gave their fans plenty to cheer about in the early stages of the game.

Johnny McCants connected on a three-pointer off glass with the shot clock winding down and then followed that up with a dunk off a lob pass to get the NMSU faithful fired up.

The Aggies would lead 14-8 after about six and a half minutes, but the Tigers would regroup and take control midway through the first half.

Chuma Okeke drained a three-pointer for the Tigers with just over five minutes to play in the first stanza that gave his team a 28-19 lead.

It appeared the Aggies were in serious trouble at that point, but they closed the half strong and managed to cut it to a 32-29 game at the half.

However, the Tigers started fast in the second half thanks to their shooting from beyond the arc. Bryce Brown and Malik Dunbar both hit from deep less than 70 seconds into the second half to give the Tigers some momentum.

After missing much of the action in the first half due to foul trouble, Auburn’s Jared Harper began heating up in the second half. Harper helped the Tigers push the lead to double-figures multiple times and seemingly had an answer every time NMSU attempted to make a run.

After Trevelin Queen buried a three to cut it to a six-point game with about 5:45 to play, Harper calmly drained one of his own on the other end to give the Tigers a nine-point cushion.

NMSU would later cut it to a 73-68 game with 50 seconds to play on a floater by point guard A.J. Harris.

The Aggies would then cut the deficit to a single point on a three from Trevelin Queen a few seconds later after a careless Auburn turnover.

After Auburn buried some free throws, NMSU found themselves down four with under ten seconds to play, but JoJo Zamora hit another three to again cut it to a one-point game.

Auburn forward Samir Doughty made one of two from the line to give his side a 78-76 lead before the aforementioned drama unfolded.

Johnny McCants led NMSU with 16 points and was one of four Aggies to reach double figures in scoring.

The Aggies finish the 2018-19 season with 30 wins (a new program record) and just five losses.

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