That New Mexico State came within one shot is remarkable considering that Auburn appeared to be in complete control for much of the second half. The Aggies entered the game with 30 wins and they had not lost since January 3.
Even then Auburn remained up four after New Mexico State's Johnny McCants split a pair of free throws, but the Tigers weren't done blundering.
Harris said he knew the Aggies were trailing by two as he took the inbounds pass with 6 seconds left, darted up the left side of the court, sped past J'Von McCormick, and then got a step on Auburn forward Chuma Okeke.
With Auburn clinging to a 78-76 lead, New Mexico State's Terrell Brown was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left. Auburn and Kansas will tip off after the conclusion of top-seeded Gonzaga's matchup with Baylor at Salt Lake City's Vivint Smart Home Arena, with a start time tentatively set for 8:40 p.m. CT. Auburn held a 78-77 lead with just over one second left on the clock when Brown missed, but the rebound went off of an Auburn player. However, the Aggies couldn't respond and Trevelin Queen missed a three-point jump shot to lose the game.
The junior McCormick, who transferred to Auburn before this season began, was previously playing at Lee College where he averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds in his sophomore season. New Mexico State went 4:45 without scoring during that stretch and missed seven consecutive shots at one point in the first half. Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts each had 13 points for Saint Mary's, which finished the season 22-12.
Every year it seems like a 12 seed is able to topple a 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers (27-9) will play Saturday in the second round against the No. 4 Kansas, an 87-53 victor over No. 13 Northeastern. Terance Mann added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Seminoles (28-7), who were tied with the Catamounts at halftime but pulled away late.
Auburn and Kansas have met just once, with the Tigers winning a 1985 NCAA Tournament game in South Bend, Ind., 66-64. Finally, Florida plays Nevada in a No. 7/No. 10 game.