The Auburn Tigers just lost a Final Four game in one of the most heartbreaking ways imaginable. Fifth seed Auburn was up 61-57 on one seed Virginia with 17 seconds left, but Kyle Guy hit a three-pointer to pull the Cavaliers within one with nine seconds left. Virginia then fouled quickly, and Jared Harper made the first foul shot to put the Tigers up 62-60, but missed the next one, and the Cavaliers’ Ty Jerome got the rebound with seven seconds left. Auburn still had fouls to give, so they fouled twice, giving Virginia the ball out of bounds with 1.5 seconds left. The Cavaliers got it to Guy in the corner, and his three-point attempt missed, but a foul was called; Guy then hit all three of his free throws to win the game. Here’s the play live, which ended with Virginia’s players briefly thinking they’d lost and Guy pulling his jersey over his head:
Here’s a later replay of the call, where CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore explained that he saw this as a foul:
Here’s Guy making his third free throw to put the Cavaliers up 63-62, followed by the Tigers’ last desperation shot missing:
But what makes this perhaps even worse for Auburn is while there seemed to be little to disagree with with the foul that was eventually called, Steratore identified a missed double dribble call in the preceding seconds that could have given the ball back to the Tigers.
That’s a rough ending for Auburn. But that school certainly knows a thing or two about being on the other end of last-second swings, too. And even earlier in this tournament, they edged New Mexico State in a similar ending, fouling a three-point shooting player while up two. That time, though, the Aggies missed two of the three free throws, and then missed again on another chance at the buzzer, letting the Tigers advance. This time around, a last-second foul wound up being much more costly for Auburn.