Leading 59-51 after a three-pointer by T.J. Lang with 3:38 left, the visiting Tigers scored just two more points and compounded their problems with turnovers.
Three of Auburn’s final four possessions ended in turnovers with the final possession a missed three-point shot by K.T. Harrell bouncing off the rim. Coach Bruce Pearl said he thought Harrell was fouled multiple times on the final possession before he launched the final shot.
“I thought they put their hands on him three times, they just weren’t going to call it,” Pearl said. “It was very, very discouraging. K.T. was phenomenal. Anybody that watched the game got a chance to be treated. He literally tried to just pick this basketball team up and put us on his shoulders. He worked so hard tonight. He worked so hard off the ball.”
Harrell scored 24 points while hitting 8-16 field goals, including 5-10 threes.
Now on a five-game losing streak, Pearl’s Tigers fell to 12-18 overall and 4-13 in the SEC. Missouri, the last place team in the league, is 3-14 in SEC games and 9-21 overall.
Freshman guard T.J. Lang scored a career-high 13 points as he made 5-6 shots, including 3-4 treys. He also led the team in rebounds with five. “He hit some big shots,” said Pearl, who pointed out the coaching staff has been working to make Lang a more aggressive player.
“He is competing defensively,” Pearl added, pointing out that Lang did not arrive on campus as a good defender.
Auburn’s rebounding, which has been an issue much of the year, was a problem vs. Mizzou, which enjoyed a 34-25 margin on the boards. Cinmeon Bowers, who leads the league in rebounds, finished with four to go with eight points.
Keith Shamburger, who scored the game-winning basket after getting a Bowers turnover, led the home team with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Neither team could build a large lead in the first half, which featured eight lead changes. Auburn’s largest lead was at 7-3 while Missouri’s largest advantage was six points at 15-9. At intermission the game was tied at 30-30.
Halftime Numbers: Auburn hit 9-28 field goals (32.1 percent), 4-14 threes and 8-10 free throws. Missouri made 12-28 (42.9 percent) of its field goals, 5-13 threes and its only foul shot. Missouri out-rebounded AU 19-14 in the half and turned the ball over seven times compared to just three for Auburn. Harrell scored 13 for AU while Shamburger’s 11 points led Mizzou.
The game stayed close for much of the second half with Auburn leading much of the period. The Tigers took the lead to eight points at 56-48 with on a three by Harrell with just over four minutes left, but Auburn couldn’t close the deal as they tried for the season sweep vs. Mizzou.
K.C. Ross-Miller, who scored four points for Auburn, drives to the basket for two points.
Auburn shot 41.2 percent from the field, hitting 21-51 field goals. The Tigers made 9-26 threes and 9-12 free throws. Missouri hit 24-54 field goals for 44.4 percent and was 8-18 on threes while making 7-10 free throws.
“I wish I could have done a better job down the stretch to get us better looks,” Pearl said.
Worth Noting: Auburn led 12-11 on second-chance points, which have been a problem in recent games. The Tigers were outscored 13-9 in the points off of turnovers statistic.
Up Next: The Tigers will close the regular season at 3 p.m. on Saturday with a home game vs. Georgia.