Carrying the Tigers for much of the day, Sullivan's final shot bounced off the rim to give the Eagles a 50-49 win and drop Auburn to 2-3 on the season.
Adding a team-high eight rebounds to his 23 points, Sullivan was one of two Auburn players in double figures as fellow senior Rob Chubb chipped in with 12 points. Holding a slim one-point lead at the half, a slow second half start hurt the Tigers as they finish their road trip with just one win in four games.
"I love the way the guys fought," Barbee said. "We had a couple of opportunities. We could have let it slip away, but the guys kept fighting all the way through.
"I thought we did some good things defensively," Barbee added. "We gave ourselves a chance on the road against a very good team. It's just unfortunate we couldn't pull that one out. The guys fought their tails off tonight."
Tied early in the second half following a Ryan Anderson free throw for Boston College, Auburn got a basket from Sullivan to take a 28-26 lead. It would be the last lead of the day for the Tigers as the Eagles scored the next nine points to take a 35-28 advantage.
With Chubb struggling to find his rhythm after a hot start and nobody else picking up the slack for Auburn it was up to Sullivan to keep the Tigers in the game.
Scoring five straight points to get Auburn back to within a basket, Sullivan and the Tigers could only watch as Patrick Heckmann and Joe Rahon hit consecutive three-point baskets to push the lead back to eight. The lead would remain firmly in the hands of Boston College until Sullivan made one last-gasp effort to give the Tigers the win.
Trailing 49-45 with under a minute left following a Rahon bucket, Sullivan went to work. Taking control of the offense, he drained a long three from the wing and was fouled on the play. Sullivan added the free throw to tie the game with just 46 seconds left, but Olivier Hanlan's final act proved to be too much for the Tigers. The freshman drove the lane and was fouled by Allen Payne with just 19.1 seconds left. He made one free throw to put Boston College up 50-49 before Sullivan's last gasp effort didn't fall for Auburn.
Payne added seven points and six rebounds for the Tigers while Noel Johnson's three-pointer and single baskets from Shaquille Johnson and Shareif Adamu rounded out the scoring for the Tigers. Hanlan's 19 points led the way for Boston College while his backcourt mate and fellow freshman Rahon added 15.
One of the biggest disappointments for Auburn was on the backboards as the Tigers were out-rebounded 35-28 by Boston College with 11 of those coming on the offensive end. That's something that Barbee said they were wary of coming into the game and it proved to be a big reason for the loss.
"We talked about that," Barbee said. "They shoot a lot of jump shots and a lot of long jump shots. There are a lot of long rebounds. Late in the game there was a key one that we had to get and we didn't get it. All those offensive rebounds came back to haunt us because those are extra possessions for them."
The first half was back and forth for the Tigers and Eagles as Chubb came out smoking for Auburn on the road. Scoring six of Auburn's first 10 points, Chubb's play was offset by the scoring of Hanlan. Hitting a pair of three-pointers to start the game, the 6-4 freshman was a terror for Boston College in the first half as he scored 11 for the Eagles in the first 20 minutes.
While Chubb set the tone early, it was the play of Sullivan that kept the Tigers in the game in the first half. Hitting the glass and making some timely shots, the senior put the finishing touches on a one-point Auburn lead at the break when he drained a three-pointer with just one second left in the half to give the Tigers a 26-25 advantage.
Scoring eight points and pulling down five rebounds, Sullivan gave his team the lead going to the second half however the Tigers would come up just short.
Auburn will return to action on Sunday when the Tigers face Rhode Island at 4 p.m. CST at the Auburn Arena.