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Pryor buzzer-beater stuns Pit; gives NMSU epic win over New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - For the second straight game, New Mexico State delivered a last-second dagger on their rival's home floor.

But given the setting, the Aggies' latest game-winner probably came as more of a shock to the New Mexico Lobos on Tuesday than it did for the UTEP Miners last Friday.

Nate Pryor's buzzer-beating layup, and ensuing Aggie celebration, silenced the hostile crowd at "The Pit" and gave New Mexico State (7-2) a 78-76 win in overtime.

The Aggies' victory splits the I-25 rivalry series, with both New Mexico State and New Mexico each winning on the opposing team's home court.

The ending to the latest in the rivalry will go down in the record books.

After Jabari Rice hit an open Pryor for the win, the Aggies celebrated boisterously at midcourt and in front of the Lobos student section.

New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nunez and New Mexico State Head Coach Chris Jans quickly tried to de-escalate the situation by getting the teams to their locker room.

"I'm not gonna justify what our kids did, I was focused on the fact we made the basket and I kept waiting for them to go to review so I didn't see it right away," said Jans postgame about the celebration. "Otherwise I'd have been out there earlier trying to stop it."

But the celebration was a bit of revenge for the Aggies, who saw the Lobos do the same at the Pan-Am Center less than a week ago following a 101-94 win in Las Cruces.

"When we got beat soundly at our place, there was some of that by their players. And I'm not gonna lie to you, I showed my team it."

On the New Mexico side, there were no hard feelings in how the game ended.

“It’s gonna happen. We did it to them when we won,” said Lobos guard Jamal Mashburn Jr, who lead New Mexico with 26 points.

"I'm more upset about the defense on that last play," said UNM coach Richard Pitino.

In a game that had 15 total lead changes, the Aggies were able to force overtime on a Johnny McCants lay-in with three seconds to play in regulation.

Jaelen House's runner at the end of regulation fell harmlessly off the rim.

In overtime, New Mexico State seized a 76-72 edge after Yuat Alok hit a turnaround jumper with 1:04 to play.

Alok was sensational off the bench for New Mexico State, finishing with 19 points.

But the Lobos responded with two made jump shots from House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. tied it up at 76 with 25 seconds remaining.

On the final possession in overtime, it appeared Jabari Rice would again take the final shot for the Aggies. Rice buried a straightaway three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left last Friday to beat UTEP 71-68.

But when the defense closed on a driving Rice, the All-WAC guard hit Pryor who threw it in over his head to give the Aggies the walk-off win.

"It was Deja Vu," said Jans of the finish. "We had the ball, the shot clock was turned off. Jabari Rice had the ball in the middle of the floor and I really thought he was gonna pull."

"All of a sudden, Nate cut and I still don't know how the ball went in. That was kind of a circus shot."

Teddy Allen led the Aggies with 20 points, adding to his team-leading average. Allen helped lead the New Mexico State back from a ten-point 1st half deficit.

In the end, New Mexico State picked up their second straight road win over a rival and keep momentum heading into another tough road game Saturday at Loyola Marymount (5-3).

The Aggies follow that trip with another road test at Pac-12 upstart Washington State on December 15th.

Meanwhile New Mexico will host UTEP this Sunday at 1pm at The Pit.

Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.

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