Texas A&M lost a heartbreaker in the NIT championship game, dropping a hard-fought 73-72 decision to Xavier on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Jack Nunge, a 7-foot forward, hit the game-winning basket for Xavier, banking in a hook shot from the lane off an in-bounds play with 3.1 seconds left.
After a timeout, Texas A&M had a chance for a game-winner of its own, but Tyrece Radford’s shot at the buzzer rattled in and out.
Quenton Jackson had given the Aggies a 72-71 lead by hitting a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left.
But Nunge, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, then hit the game-winner after Texas A&M had knocked the ball out of bounds underneath the Xavier basket with 5.9 seconds left.
It was Xavier’s first NIT championship since 1958. Texas A&M had been seeking its first NIT title.
Jackson led the Aggies with 23 points and six rebounds. He hit 12 of 14 free throws.
Radford added 15 points for Texas A&M and Hassan Diarra had 12.
Xavier was led by Colby Jones with 21 points and Dwon Odon with 18.
There were 17 lead changes in the tense game that was tight throughout.
Texas A&M ends its season with a record of 27-13 after winning 12 of its final 15 games following an eight-game losing streak that was finally snapped in mid-February.
Xavier finishes its season at 23-13.