With slightly under three seconds to play, Auburn, down by two to No. 21 Missouri, had the opportunity to tie the game or go ahead. One poor inbounds pass later and the Tigers were sent home with their second straight disapointing Southeastern Conference loss in the final minute.
70-68 would be the final score.
Auburn guard KT Harrell had his turn at scoring for the night. Just two days after teammate Chris Denson scored 28 points in a losing effort against Ole Miss, the junior posted a game-high 27 of his own, his second-highest total of the season.
But it would be a former Auburn player who would have the biggest impact of the contest. Earnest Ross, an Auburn transfer following the 2011 season, was clutch in the final five minutes of the game, hitting six straight free throws. Ross finished with 16 points.
“To come out and play my old school on the road, it was a great feeling,” Ross said via Opelika-Auburn News . “I’m glad we got the win.”
Denson's free-throw woes continued. After missing half his charity shots against Ole Miss, the senior would only connect on 3 of his 10 attempts Saturday. He scored 11 on 4-of-10 shooting.
Auburn, 8-5 and 0-2 in league play, lost its 12th straight game to an SEC opponent despite only losing both league contests this year by a combined 5 points.
Despite controlling the boards against Ole Miss, Auburn would be outrebounded 44-28 in this game. The Tigers gave up 20 offensive rebounds which has been an ongoing problem all season.
“We got crushed on the backboard,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “I thought that was where the game was won and lost, in the trenches.”
Missouri connected on 31 of 41 free throws while Auburn made 14 of 26.
Auburn will play Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena Jan. 15. The Vols lost their Saturday matchup against Texas A&M 57-56.