Senior guard Keith Shamburger had extra motivation to put on a show during Missouri’s senior night Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.
“I finally got (my mom, Conchita Nickles) out here for a game,” Shamburger said.
Boy, did she pick the right game to come see.
Playing the final home game of his college career, Shamburger, a graduate-student transfer from Hawaii, delivered the game-winning jumper with 10.9 seconds remaining in a 63-61 comeback win against Auburn.
But afterward, it wasn’t his season-high 21 points or the game-winning 15-footer that Shamburger wanted to talk about most.
“It just feels good to get a win,” said Shamburger, who also had game highs with six rebounds and four assists.
Missouri, 9-21 overall and 3-14 in the SEC, trailed by eight points with 3 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, but — led by Shamburger — pecked away at Auburn’s lead.
It certainly helped that Auburn, 12-18 and 4-13, went scoreless during the final 3:04, which allowed Missouri to close the game on a 9-0 run to secure its second straight home victory.
“It didn’t look very good with about 3 or 4 minutes to go, but I thought our defense was really good down the stretch,” Anderson said. “We made some good plays to get some open shots.”
Freshman Montaque Gill-Caesar and sophomore Johnathan Williams III connected on three-pointers sandwiched around a layup by Auburn senior Malcolm Canada, which halved the deficit.
Both Missouri baskets were assisted by Shamburger, whose free throws with 1:58 remaining trimmed Auburn’s lead to two points.
Freshman Namon Wright got into the act with a baseline take and game-tying reverse layup at the 1:16 mark, setting up Shamburger’s heroics.
With 17 seconds left in a tie game, Shamburger tried a contested baseline jumper, which fell to junior Cinmeon Bowers.
Bowers ran roughshod over Missouri on Jan. 10 at Auburn with 20 points and 14 rebounds, but he coughed up the game this time when Gill-Caesar poked the ball from his grasp.
“That was a good play,” Shamburger said. “Teki saw that Bowers was holding the ball, I guess, the wrong way and Teki tipped it out. I just saw it roll on the floor, and I almost dove for it.”
Instead, Shamburger gathered the ball between two defenders, dribbled toward the key, created some space and made the most of his second chance.
“Wes kept telling me, ‘We’re going to see where your heart is,’ so I don’t know if he was testing me or seeing what I was going to do,” Shamburger said. “He tests all of us to see where our heart is at. Those last couple minutes, we played with a lot of heart.”
Missouri bottled up Auburn senior KT Harrell, who led all scorers with 24 points, for a contested three-pointer at the buzzer. Shamburger and freshman D’Angelo Allen had a hand up as Harrell let the final shot fly.
“We thought about setting a ball screen closer to half court, but they backed all the way off of him,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I actually didn’t want Jordon Granger to bring the secondary defender up at that point. … I wanted Jordon to be flat. He wasn’t, so we didn’t get the shot that we wanted.”
Shamburger matched his season high with 21 points. He also had six rebounds, four assists and a turnover in 36 minutes.
As Wright collected the rebound, the horn sounded and the crowd of 6,619 at Mizzou Arena went into a frenzy.
The first half finished tied at 30-30 and featured three ties and eight lead changes.
Missouri had the upper hand early thanks to Shamburger, who hit his first four shots, including two threes, in helping build a 15-9 lead.