A.J. Harris had an easy layup for the tie. He wanted a win for New Mexico State.

It didn't work out, but what a way for the 12th-seeded Aggies to go down swinging Thursday in Salt Lake City against fifth-seeded Auburn in the NCAA tournament.

With the clock ticking down and the Aggies trailing 78-76, Harris passed on an open layup and kicked out to teammate Terrell Brown, who was spotted up for a three-pointer.

So far, so good.

Brown missed the shot but was fouled with 1.1 seconds left.

Still a chance.

Brown missed the first free throw and made the second, meaning he needed to make the third for a tie. He missed.

Hold on, though.

Auburn knocked the rebound out of bounds and New Mexico State's Trevelin Queen had an open look from the wing at the buzzer but shot an air ball.

That huge sigh of relief? It came from Auburn. The Tigers (27-9) led by as many as 13 midway through the second half, and J'Von McCormick's three-point play gave Auburn a 73-65 lead with 2:13 left.

"I can sit up here and second-guess," New Mexico State coach Chris Jans said, "but if [Brown] makes the three, or makes all three free throws, it's an Ali-Frazier moment."

Harris said he knew the Aggies were trailing by two as he took the inbounds pass with six seconds left, darted up the left side of the court, sped past McCormick, and then got a step on Auburn forward Chuma Okeke.

There was nothing but air between the 5-9 guard and the basket as he made his way through the key.

"Yes, I did, I had an open shot," Harris said. "But I felt Terrell Brown was going to hit the three."

Brown was as shocked as anyone to see the ball get kicked back out.

"They have a lot of shot-blockers on their team, so I could see why he would kick it out," Brown said of his teammate's decision.

As Brown toed the free-throw line, McCormick made the choke sign — "I saw in his face, he was pretty scared," McCormick said.

Brown is a 78 percent free-throw shooter who had more attempts from the line than anyone on his team this season.

"Until you get in that moment, you don't know how you're going to react," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said, when asked about the Tigers' near meltdown.

Kentucky 79, Abilene Christian 44: With PJ Washington watching from the bench in a cast, Kentucky (28-6) romped to a victory in Jacksonville, Fla.

Keldon Johnson scored 25 points in a huge mismatch that was over by halftime. The Wildcats shot 60 percent in the opening half, held Abilene Christian to five of 26 from the field and went to the locker room with a 39-13 lead.

Even without Washington, who sprained his left foot in the Southeastern Conference tournament, the Wildcats had far too many weapons for the Southland Conference representative, a No. 15 seed. Reid Travis added 18 points and Tyler Herro 14.

Kentucky advanced to the second round of the Midwest Regional on Saturday to face Wofford.

The big question: Will Washington be able to go?

Coach John Calipari tweeted before the game that a foot specialist confirmed the injury was only a sprain, not a fracture. But Washington certainly didn't look close to returning as he zipped around the arena on a scooter, a hard cast covering much of his lower left leg.

Kentucky could certainly afford to be cautious against their overmatched opponent in the opening round. Abilene Christian (27-7) is also known as the Wildcats, but that was about the only thing these teams have in common.

The striking disparity — one of the nation's most storied programs vs. a small Texas school not far removed from playing in Division II — was best epitomized by the point guards. Kentucky started Ashton Hagans, a 6-3 freshman who was one of the nation's top recruits. Abilene Christian countered with 5-7 freshman Damien Daniels, who struggled just to get up a shot and missed all five of his attempts.

Wofford 84, Seton Hall 68: Fletcher Magee set the Division I career record for three-pointers as he scored 24 points and led the Terriers (30-4) past the Pirates (20-14) in Jacksonville.

Magee hit seven three-pointers and has made 509 three-pointers in four seasons, breaking the career mark set by Oakland's Travis Bader in 2014. He went 7-for-12 on three-pinters Thursday, and the Terriers went 13-for-28.

Myles Powell scored 27 points, leading Seton Hall in scoring.

Kansas 87, Northeastern 54: Dedric Lawson had 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Jayhawks (26-9) routed the Huskies (23-11) in Salt Lake City.

KU outscored Northeastern 50-16 in the paint while grabbing 17 more rebounds.

"I thought our guys were as locked in as they've been all year," Kansas coach Bill Self said.