New Mexico State loses in March Madness after player passes up wide-open, game-tying layup in the final seconds in wild finish


  • The Auburn Tigers beat the New Mexico State Aggies in the first round of March Madness in a wild finish.
  • With six seconds remaining, trailing by two, Aggies guard AJ Harris went the length of the court and appeared to have a wide-open layup, only to pass the ball out to the three-point line. His teammate got fouled attempting a three.
  • The Aggies missed their game-tying free throws, then couldn’t convert on a last-second look, giving Auburn the win in a game that should have gone to overtime.

New Mexico State nearly gave us the first big upset of March Madness, if not for a player’s baffling decision.

With six seconds remaining, the New Mexico State Aggies trailed the Auburn Tigers, 76-78.

New Mexico State guard AJ Harris went the length of the court, beating several defenders, and appeared to have a wide-open, game-tying layup. If he made it, with just a few seconds remaining, the Aggies would only have to prevent a last-second heave from Auburn to go to overtime.

Instead, as Harris got to the basket, he kicked it back out to guard Terrell Brown for three. Brown got fouled on the attempt, saving Harris’ confusing decision.

Here was the play:

However, the decision still came back to haunt the Aggies. Brown missed two of three free throws, leaving New Mexico State trailing by one. The third miss was knocked out of bounds by Auburn, giving the Aggies one last chance to go for the win, with 1.1 seconds remaining.

On the inbounds pass, reserve guard Trevelin Queen got open in the corner for the game-winning three-pointer. Unfortunately, his shot sailed way left of the rim, giving Auburn the win.

Who knows what would have happened in the remaining seconds if Harris made the layup, or what would have happened in overtime, but that decision may haunt Harris for a while.

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