Auburn holds off Missouri to extend winning streak to 16 games
COLUMBIA, Mo. — — K.D. Johnson scored 17 points, including five straight within the final 90 seconds, and No. 1 Auburn survived a scare from Missouri, winning 55-54 on Tuesday night in the program’s first-ever game as the nation’s top-ranked team.
Johnson converted a three-point play with 1:29 remaining to put Auburn ahead 53-51, then added a layup with 45 seconds left for a four-point advantage, and the Tigers (19-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) held on from there.
Walker Kessler had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Auburn, which shot 30% from the field.
Javon Pickett led Missouri (8-11, 2-5) with 17 points, and Jaron Coleman added 10.
Missouri got off to a roaring start, opening a 10-point lead in the first six minutes while Auburn missed 10 of its first 11 shots. Auburn star freshman Jabari Smith — a potential top pick in this year’s NBA draft — scored three points in the first half as the teams went into halftime tied at 31.
Smith finished with five points on 2-of-15 shooting, although he contributed 10 rebounds.
Auburn: Wendell Green Jr. injured his right knee in a collision with Missouri’s Yaya Keita with 13:18 left in the game. Green, who was called for a charge on the play, went to the locker room and didn’t return. Green entered the game as Auburn’s third-leading scorer at 13.0 points per game.
Missouri: After being overmatched earlier in the season against Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky — the average margin of defeat in those games was 33 points — Missouri has been more competitive in recent weeks. It beat Alabama and Mississippi and led for extended periods in losses to Texas A&M, Alabama (the rematch) and Auburn.
Auburn: Hosts Oklahoma on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Missouri: At No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.