Denson hit 1 of 2 free throws with 43 seconds left to give Auburn (5-3) a 63-62 lead. Then Asauhn Dixon-Tatum blocked Rod Hall's jumper.
Tahj Shamsid-Deen grabbed the rebound and he and KT Harrell pushed the ball across midcourt and milked 10 seconds off the clock before Clemson managed to foul. Harrell hit both free throws with 14 seconds left.
Clemson (8-3) called timeout with 4.5 seconds left but Auburn fouled Jordan Roper before he could get a shot off. He missed both foul shots, but the ball went out of bounds to Clemson. Landry Nnoka hit a quick layup off an inbounds pass with 2 seconds remaining to cut it to 65-64.
After a quick foul, Allen Payne hit one of two free throws with 1 second left. Rod Hall's desperation heave from nearly full-court bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Birmingham native K.J. McDaniels led Clemson with 18 points and seven rebounds. Hall had 16 points and made 8 of 10 free throws. Jordan Roper added 12.
Clemson had given up just 35 points in its last game against Furman but wasn't nearly as effective defensively against Auburn.
Clemson scored the first nine points of the second half to break a halftime deadlock and open up a 43-34 lead. Auburn missed its first eight shots and didn't score until Dixon-Tatum's putback with 13:44 left.That started Auburn on a 16-5 run that included Malcolm Canada's basket after the fourth offensive rebound of a possession. Denson's layup gave Auburn a 50-48 lead with 8:07 left and it went back and forth from there. Clemson had wiped out an early 11-point deficit to tie the game 34-34 at halftime. Hall hit two straight 3-pointers in the final minute to even it up.
Auburn went 5:13 without a field goal during one stretch, but still made 15 of 27 shots (55.6) in the half.Auburn struggled at the line, making 10 of 19 attempts. Denson missed four of his five foul shots. It was the first time Clemson had played in Auburn since 1935 and the teams hadn't met since the NIT in 1993.