Former Oñate star Johnny McCants has now etched his named into New Mexico State lore.
McCants hit a half-court buzzer-beater Thursday night against Grand Canyon to give the Aggies a 77-75 win after his team nearly coughed up a late lead.
The Aggies led by three points with about 30 seconds to go when point guard A.J. Harris lost the handle leading to a Damari Milstead layup that cut the NMSU lead to just one point.
On the ensuing play, Harris again turned the ball over, this time right under his own basket. Milstead would score it again to give GCU a 75-74 lead.
The Aggies had about 10 seconds to answer, and they nearly did right away. Terrell Brown drove to the basket and was fouled, giving him two free throws for the tie or the lead. However, Brown missed both from the charity stripe, and GCU secured the rebound.
After a foul with about three seconds to go, GCU's Trey Drechsel went to the line to shoot a one-and-one. He missed the front end, and Johnny McCants grabbed the rebound.
McCants could only dribble to the half-court line before he had to put up a shot. And it's a shot that will live in the memories of NMSU fans for years - not to mention GCU players, who left the court in stunned disbelief.
McCants finished the game with 17 points on 7-9 shooting and said afterwards he just knew his final shot was destined to go in.
"It's an amazing experience," he said. "When I shot it, I knew it was going in, just the way I released it. It just felt so good - better than my other shot attempts."
NMSU head coach Chris Jans said he has been a part of some wild games, but it was an honor to be at the Pan American Center Thursday night.
"Tonight will be one that anyone who was in the building will remember for a long, long time, if not forever. And I was just glad to be a part of it," said Jans.
NMSU improved to 12-4 overall and 1-1 in WAC play with the win and will next meet CSU Bakersfield Saturday night at home.