Auburn looked poised to advance to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament final. The Tigers led 62-60 with just 1.5 seconds left in regulation. Virginia inbounded to Kyle Guy, who tried a fadeaway triple.
He missed, but Auburn’s Samir Doughty hacked Guy. The Cavaliers guard nailed all 3 free throws to send Virginia to its first national championship game with a 63-62 victory.
CBS’s Gene Steratore agreed with the call during the broadcast, stating that you can’t make contact with an airborne shooter. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl erupted mid-game, as Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery feared he may be assessed a technical for his tirade.
Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome also got away with a double-dribble only moments earlier, as he dribbled the ball off the back of his leg before illegally recovering.
Doughty came off the bench to lead Auburn with 13 points, only committing 2 personal fouls. The second will go down in the darker chapters of Auburn sports history, as the fans audibly booed the officials after the final whistle blew.
Guy, who scored 15 points and dished 4 assists, told CBS in the post-game interview that he didn’t care if the finish was controversial, as he still had to make all 3 free throws.
Former Auburn forward Charles Barkley, an in-studio host for CBS, said afterwards that he felt bad for Doughty, but thought the officials made the right decision.
Auburn came back from down 10 with a little over 5 minutes to go, roaring back with a 12-0 run to take the lead with just 1:57 left. The Tigers led by as much as 4 with just 17 seconds left before Guy drew the Cavaliers within one with a triple. After Tigers guard Jared Harper split a pair, Guy sunk all of his for the final margin.
Virginia will play the winner of Michigan State-Texas Tech on Monday night.