AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Earnest Ross hit four free throws down the stretch and Rodney Clarkson scored 20 points to lead No. 21 Missouri to a 70-68 victory over Auburn on Saturday.
Ross, who spent two seasons at Auburn before transferring in 2011, scored 16 points for Missouri (13-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference).
Unable to get off a tying 3-pointer, Chris Denson missed a layup with 5 seconds left but drew the foul for Auburn (8-5, 0-2). He made one free throw then Torren Jones stepped on the baseline after rebounding the missed second attempt.
Wes Clark batted away Tahj Shamsid-Deen’s long inbounds pass to end the game and Jabari Brown collected the ball just before time ran out.
Brown added 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Ross had seven rebounds and was perfect on eight attempts from the line. Missouri dominated in rebounds with a 44-28 advantage. Missouri rebounded from an overtime loss to Georgia that snapped a nation’s-best 26-game home winning streak.
Shamsid-Deen had 13 points and six assists for Auburn. Denson had 11 points despite a 3-of-10 performance in free throws.
Missouri shot 32.7 percent (17 of 52) from the floor but also made 31 of 41 free throws.
Auburn fared much better from the field, hitting 23 of 53 shots (43.4 percent). But Auburn also made barely over half from the line, 14 of 26.
Denson’s drive gave Auburn a 67-66 lead with 1:51 left. Missouri reclaimed the lead with two free throws by Ross.
Ross then blocked Harrell’s shot on the other end.
Auburn walk-on Alex Thompson, who had eight points, drew a charge on Clarkson with just over a minute remaining. But Denson missed his shot and Ross made two free throws with 29 seconds left to set up the final sequence with Auburn needing three points.
Thompson had scored just one point in five appearances this season. He played an increased role with starter Allen Payne limited to two minutes with a hamstring injury.
Before the game, Auburn coach Tony Barbee also announced the indefinite suspension of reserve forward Chris Griffin for violating an undisclosed school policy.
Clarkson had hit three of four free throws after Auburn’s Matthew Atewe fouled out and was called for a technical, giving Missouri a 56-51 lead with 8:12 left.
Brown’s long 3-pointer with 7 seconds left gave Missouri a 33-30 halftime lead and capped a closing 8-0 run.
Auburn had taken a 28-23 lead with Asauhn Dixon-Tatum’s tap-in with 3:12 left but didn’t make another basket.
It was Missouri’s first visit to Auburn and only the teams’ second meeting.