The top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers edged out No. 5 Auburn in the final seconds of Saturday's Final Four clash to advance to the program's first national championship game in history. Three shots from the line for junior guard Kyle Guy with 0.6 seconds on the clock gave the Cavaliers a 63–62 win after a controversial foul call ended the back-and-forth game.
After Virginia’s Ty Jerome extended the lead to 10 with 5:30 remaining in regulation, Auburn responded with a 12–0 run, with a Bryce Brown three from deep getting the Tigers back into the lead with less than two minutes to play. McLemore extended the Tigers lead to four with a pair of free throws.
Guy hit a three with 6.5 seconds on the clock to bring the margin back to one. After Jared Harper hit one of two free throws at the other end, Guy missed his next shot from deep as time expired but was fouled by Doughty on a controversial call.
Guy sunk three straight shots from the line to take the Cavaliers to their first national championship game in program history, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Jerome finished with a team-high 21 points and nine boards to go with six assists. Hunter added 14 in the win–10 of which came in the second half of Saturday night's thriller.
Auburn won the jump ball as the tip off sailed out of bounds to kick things off. The Tigers then took the opening possession but turned the ball over on a shot clock violation against Virginia's vaunted Pack Line defense. Neither team knocked in a shot in the first 90 seconds until the Cavaliers' Elite Eight hero Mamadi Diakite scored on a lay up assisted by Jerome to put the Cavaliers on the board.
Jerome took control of Virginia's offense early on, dishing a pass to Diakite, scoring on a foul shot of his own and then sending a lob from half court to 5'9" freshman Kihei Clark under the basket for an open lay-in to set the tone.
Jerome went 5-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from deep, knocking in 13 points, four boards and three assists. He was the only player on either team to finish the first half with double digit points as his teammates Guy and Hunter went just a combined 4-of-12 from the field for nine points.
Virginia controlled the tempo in the first half, holding a fast-paced Auburn offense to just 29 possessions, but the Tigers made the most of 14 of those opportunities. Junior forward Anfernee McLemore led the Tigers with seven points–as many as Auburn's dynamic backcourt duo of Harper and Bryce Brown combined for–and six rebounds. The Tigers ended the half ahead after a three-point jumper from McLemore on a Horace Spencer assist.
The lead changed seven times in the first half, with the Cavaliers extending their lead to as many as five points before entering the break trailing Auburn by three.
Hunter came out strong for Virginia to start the second, leading the team on a 6–0 run as he slammed in a dunk and sunk a jumper before blocking an attempted dunk by the Tigers' Brown. Virginia made eight straight stops against the Tigers in the opening minutes of the last half.
J'Von McCormick and Samir Doughty got the Tigers back in the game offensively but back-to-back threes from Clark and Jerome gave Virginia a seven point lead at the under-eight–Virginia's largest lead of the game.
Doughty led Auburn in the loss with 13 points, while Brown added 12.
Virginia will face No. 3 Texas Tech in the national title game on Monday, April 8.