Auburn men's basketball wins 77-72 over Mizzou

Auburn men's basketball wins 77-72 over Mizzou

The following is a press release from Auburn University Athletics:

Mustapha Heron totaled 16 points, nine rebounds and two assists, scoring seven of Auburn's last 11 points to lead the road Tigers to a 77-72 victory at Missouri in Mizzou Arena on Tuesday.

Five Tigers scored in double figures, including 43 bench points. Ronnie Johnson and Bryce Brown scored 13 points apiece off the bench as Brown made 4-of-8 3-pointers. Jared Harper added 10 points and four rebounds and Horace Spencer 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks.

With the score tied at 66, that's when Mustapha Heron took over. He hit two big shots with the score tied. First, he drained a 3 from the right corner for a 60-57 Auburn lead with 5:09 to go. He followed with another trey for a 69-66 lead and hit another jumper for a 71-66 Auburn lead with 1:27 left.

"That is a team in Missouri fighting for their lives," said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. It is a road win. It is a SEC win. Right now giving the fact we are a mish-mash, we will take it."

The Waterbury, Conn., freshman then made a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left and Johnson iced with two more foul shots. Auburn made all six free throw attempts in the final 52 seconds.

"Knowing that I didn't get off to a good start tried to put that past me and do what I do basically," said Heron of his big 3-pointers down the stretch. It's very important. It was a hard-fought win."

Bryce Brown's 4th 3 and LaRon Smith layin capped a 9-0 Auburn run in 1:43 that included a Horace Spencer tip-in and Ronnie Johnson layup as the Tigers regained the lead 47-44 with 13:11 remaining.

Auburn increased it to 57-52 but Mizzou scored five straight to tie it.

"We didn't play very well, but we played a lot of guys," said Pearl. "I felt like I was a hockey coach, sending them over the boards and changing lines. The loss of Danjel (Purifoy) is just huge. Nobody can really replace him."

Purifoy missed the final 27 minutes of Auburn's previous game vs. Ole Miss and didn't make the trip to Missouri after spraining his ankle.

"LaRon smith played some of his position," said Pearl. "TJ Lang played some of it. Anfernee played some of it and Devin. I put all 12 players on the boards. I said don't worry about your rotations, don't worry about your minutes, worry about Missouri.

Auburn held Missouri to 4-of-23 field goals to start for a 16-10 lead, but Missouri answered scoring 10 straight points to go up 20-16.

Ronnie Johnson and Bryce Brown nailed back-to-back 3s for a 31-26 Auburn lead. Brown hit his third 3 of the half for to put Auburn ahead 34-33 but a Terrence Phillips layup gave Mizzou a 35-34 halftime lead.

Auburn equaled last year's win total as it moved to 11-5 overall, 1-3 in the SEC while Missouri fell to 5-10, 0-3.

Jordan Barnett led Mizzou with 20 points.

Auburn had 12 blocked shots in an SEC game for the first time since blocking 12 vs. LSU on March 2, 2002.

Auburn continues its two-game road swing as it plays at No. 6 Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Saturday at 3 pm CT on ESPN.