It was a special night for Chris Denson and Auburn’s basketball team.
Denson, a senior, scored his 1,000th career point, leading the Tigers to a 79-74 win at South Carolina. It’s Auburn’s third-straight SEC win, and first conference win on the road.
Auburn looked to have the game well in hand, breaking out to a 16-point lead early in the second half, but South Carolina battled back to tie the game with 7:50 left and kept it tight until the final seconds.
Auburn converted seven of its final eight free throw attempts to preserve the victory.
“I’m proud of the guys to be able to crack that code and to get that win on the road,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “The guys fought their tails off from start to finish. You always want a 20-point win, on the road its nice, but they’re a good team and we knew they were going to make a run.
“We kind of let our guard down. We stopped throwing punches, so to speak, but I’m glad that we picked it up, responded, and were able to get over that hump late.”
Denson finished with 25 points, making 3-of-4 from 3-point range. KT Harrell matched him with 25 points and added six rebounds and six assists. Both battled foul problems, playing the final seven minutes with four fouls.
“It was poise. Everybody was confident,” Denson said. “I think last year, we would have folded, and we wouldn’t have come out of here with a W.”
Brenton Williams led South Carolina with 29 points, making 6-of-10 3-pointers.
Auburn, which improved to 11-9 overall and 3-6 in the SEC, plays at LSU Saturday, with tipoff scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. The game will be carried on the SEC Network.
“The whole week we were saying, ‘This is a must win, this is a must win.’ For us to come here in a hostile environmental is vital, especially with us going to LSU,” Denson said.