AUBURN, Ala. – J’Von McCormick’s floater bounced high off the rim before finally going through the net, one last bit of suspense in a game and a performance filled with it.
McCormick's basket with 0.1 second left in overtime lifted No. 11 Auburn to a 91-90 win over No. 18 LSU in a dramatic Southeastern Conference showdown Saturday.
“I felt like it came off my hands pretty good,” said McCormick, who is from New Orleans. “I work on those shots all the time, so it was just nothing to me.”
Before that, he made three consecutive 3-pointers in a 20-second span to help force overtime.
Auburn (21-2, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a 14-point second half deficit and moved into a tie with LSU (17-6, 8-2) for the league lead. It's Auburn's third overtime win in the last four games and this one took 18 3-pointers.
McCormick drove toward the basket in the final moments for the game-winner. He followed his coach's instructions of not pulling up.
“It’s a simple matter of J’Von’s the quickest guy on the floor,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “J’Von was smart enough not to settle for that jump shot.”
It came after Skylar Mays and Emmitt Williams led an LSU comeback from a quick seven-point deficit in the extra period.
Mays scored on two free throws and a drive then had a steal and dished to Williams for a dunk and the lead with 11 seconds left.
Samir Doughty led Auburn with 26 points and made five 3-pointers. McCormick just missed a triple double with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while also delivering in the key moments.
“He stepped up,” Doughty said. “That’s what we expected. Of course, we wanted the ball in his hands and he just delivered.”
Devan Cambridge made seven 3s for 21 points after failing to score in the last four games since a career-high 26 against South Carolina. He replaced starter Danjel Purifoy, who was out with the flu.
“It's one of the better comebacks of my career because of what was at stake and just how much we were down late to such a good team in a championship-type game,” Pearl said. “I can’t think of many bigger.”
Mays led all scorers with 30 points while also getting eight assists and seven rebounds. He scored nine in overtime.
Darius Days had 19 points before fouling out.
Doughty and Cambridge both capped big games with a pair of 3s in overtime before LSU staged its own rally. Auburn helped by missed three of four free throws down the stretch.
After three consecutive 3-pointers by McCormick, Auburn forced overtime with Doughty's layup with 19 seconds left. Mays missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“It was a tough loss, but it was two really good teams slugging out and going against each other,” LSU coach Will Wade said.
LSU: The Tigers have lost two straight, including a 99-90 defeat at Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Outrebounded Auburn 46-36 and shot 47%.
Auburn: Made 18 of 44 3s (41%). Reached 21-plus wins for the third straight season, a program first. Had a drama-packed week, having beaten Arkansas in overtime after rallying from an 11-point deficit in the final six minutes of regulation.
THEY SAID IT
“We gave them the shots that we wanted them to take but they were just able to knock them down,” Mays said.
Days and McCormick got off to big starts for their respective teams. Days had 13 points and three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes, topping his 11-point average. McCormick scored eight of Auburn's first 12.
CAMBRIDGE STEPS UP
Cambridge delivered big without Purifoy, who's averaging 9.6 points. He made 7 of 10 3s.
“When he's going he's got no fear,” Pearl said. “But he needs to be able to find a way, and he will because he's still young, to play more consistently."
LSU hosts Missouri Tuesday night.
Auburn hosts in-state rival Alabama Wednesday night.