AUBURN, AL (AP) — Delvon Johnson was leaving nothing to chance with Arkansas struggling to put Auburn away.
Johnson caught a pass from Julysses Nobles and slammed the ball through the rim with 6 seconds left to lift the Razorbacks to a 57-55 win over Auburn on Saturday and a second straight dramatic victory.
"The only thing I was thinking is, it's got to be a dunk, in case they tried to foul me or something," he said. "I was excited when I dunked. I looked at the bench and everybody was jumping up. Then I looked at the clock and there were some seconds left, so I had to get back."
Johnson said he had never made a game-winner before, not even on the playground.
Auburn's Josh Wallace then sent a desperate 3-point attempt from about 35 feet off the glass and the rim.
"That last shot is something that we actually practice before every game so I thought it had a good chance to go in," he said. "It hit the backboard and almost went in."
The Razorbacks (18-10, 7-7 Southeastern Conference), who are trying to secure a No. 2 seed in the league tournament, won for the fourth time in five games. That includes a 77-76 overtime win over No. 22 Kentucky on Wednesday night.
Auburn (9-19, 2-12) rallied from 13 points down. The Tigers, who also dropped a two-point decision at Alabama on a last-second shot three nights earlier, tied it up on Kenny Gabriel's layup off a pass from Wallace with 28 seconds left.
Then Nobles fired the ball inside for the winner to Johnson, who had only six points but won it with a powerful slam.
"He wasn't going to be denied," teammate Rotnei Clarke said. "He went up strong. There wasn't any question."
Auburn coach Tony Barbee said there was a defensive breakdown on the play.
"We were switching everything, and we had a guy that didn't switch," Barbee said. "I told the guys even though that play happened, we lost this game a long time ago because of the way that we started."
The Razorbacks set up the final play after working half the time off the clock and calling time out following Gabriel's basket.
Johnson set two screens on the play for Clarke before the ball came his way.
"Those guys did it to perfection. They really did," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "Rotnei set it up great, Delvon screened. I don't know if they switched it. We thought they would show hard on him. Julysses probably made a little longer pass than I would have liked, but he threw it hard, and Delvon got it. Somebody was trying to get up underneath him and he wasn't having it. He chinned the ball and went right to the basket."
Clarke led the Razorbacks with 17 points, including 3-of-7 3-pointers.
Marcus Britt added 10 points and seven rebounds. Johnson and fellow post player Marshawn Powell both were limited by foul trouble and combined for 10 points, 17 below their combined average. But Johnson also collected seven rebounds for the Razorbacks.
Gabriel had 13 points for the Tigers while Earnest Ross scored 11 and had seven boards. The two combined for six points on 3-of-11 shooting in the first half before leading the Tigers back from a 13-point deficit over the final 11 minutes.
Arkansas had won only one of its previous six SEC road games. The Razorbacks managed to avoid a big slip-up after beating the Wildcats.
"We wanted to back the Kentucky win up," Pelphrey said. "It wouldn't mean as much to us if we lost."
Rob Chubb's layup off an inbound pass from Tony Neysmith cut the Arkansas lead to 55-53 with 1:20 left. The Razorbacks' Nobles then worked off most of the shot clock before settling for an off-balance attempt that missed and gave Auburn the chance to tie.
The first half went similarly. The Razorbacks lost much of a 13-point lead but still went into halftime up 27-20, despite a frustrating finish.
Britt was called for goaltending on Wallace's long 3-pointer at the buzzer that appeared well short.
It was the Tigers' first 3 and only seventh field goal of the half. They had six turnovers in the first four minutes, but only one in the second half.
"We made the plays offensively to give ourselves a chance," Barbee said. "When your margin of error is very small, all it takes is one play to break down. And we broke down on that last play."