MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Guy made three free throws after a questionable foul call with 0.6 seconds left, and Virginia survived a frantic rally by Auburn for a 63-62 victory in the national semifinals.
The Tigers had used a 14-0 run in the closing minutes to turn what had been a 10-point deficit into a 61-57 lead with 19.3 seconds left. Guy answered with a 3-pointer to give Virginia a chance, and the Tigers’ Jared Harper could only make the front end of a one-and-one with 7.4 seconds left.
Virginia was not yet in the bonus, and Auburn brilliantly used a couple of fouls to whittle time off the clock. The Cavaliers wound up with 1.5 seconds to work and got the ball to Guy, who was bumped by the Tigers’ Samir Doughty on a 3-point shot from the corner.
The buzzer sounded and Auburn thought it had won, but official James Breeding had called a foul and sent Guy to the line. He made all three free throws and the Tigers’ desperation heave was no good.
Earlier, No. 1 seeded Virginia’s defense was doing a good job of protecting the rim against undersized Auburn.
The Cavaliers blocked seven shots as of midway through the second half of Saturday’s national semifinal. That includes three in the paint in the second half, one being a dunk attempt that was stuffed by De’Andre Hunter.
Mamadi Diakite blocked four shots for Virginia, which had managed seven or more blocks just twice all season. The Cavaliers’ season high is eight late in the regular season against Syracuse.
Virginia was dictating its typical snail-like tempo, and a barrage of 3-pointers has given the Cavaliers their biggest lead of the game at 50-43 over Auburn with less than 8 minutes to go.