With this same script, Cal State Fullerton had won other games this season.
They had won by coming from 13 points behind. They had won after John Sykes picked up a loose-ball and stuffed it in the late going. They had won when Wayne Williams made a long-range three-pointer.
But this time, the comeback failed, Sykes' shot rimmed out, and Williams' three-pointer bounded off the heel of the basket just before the buzzer.
Not that even the three-pointer would have been enough. Fullerton got the ball back for the final time trailing by four with four seconds left. It ended that way, with New Mexico State taking a 60-56 victory Thursday night.
With that, New Mexico State clinched second place in the Big West Conference, winning its 19th game of the season. The Aggies 12-5 in the Big West, 19-8 overall.
The Titans (14-12, 9-8) can clinch at least sixth place with a victory over Cal State Long Beach Saturday.
Like several other Big West teams, the Titans are trying to finish sixth or better to earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
The Aggies, who nearly let this one get away with poor free-throw shooting (16 of 30), ultimately won it at the line.
William Benjamin, a freshman who is averaging just five points a game, hit both ends of a one-and-one with four seconds left to put the Aggies ahead by four.
Fullerton trailed by five at halftime, then fell behind, 44-31, when Jeff McCool hit a three-pointer with 13 minutes to play.
But Fullerton cut the margin on back-to-back inside baskets by David Moody.
The Titans, only one for 12 from three-point range, hit their one when Mark Hill connected to cut the lead to 52-49 with 4:20 remaining.
Fullerton, fouling New Mexico State inside, watched as the Aggies missed free throws--10 of 19 in the second half. But the closest Fullerton got was 57-56 with 1:27 left.
Sykes blocked a shot, and Cedric Ceballos came up with the ball and broke downcourt, but his on-the-move shot in the lane didn't fall.
Fullerton had one more solid chance, trailing, 58-56, with 33 seconds left. Mark Hill tried a three-pointer with about 12 seconds left. Sykes picked up the loose-ball rebound, but also missed. Van Anderson tried once more for the Titans, but his shot also went in and came out.