John GasawayESPN Insider
CloseESPN Insider faculty basketball contributor
First started masking faculty hoops in 2004
Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Avenue Journal
One 12 months after struggling probably the most surprising loss in NCAA match historical past, Virginia will play for a nationwide title. Here is how the Cavaliers obtained the job performed, and what comes subsequent.
The Cavaliers have pulled off back-to-back miracle finishes:
First there was Mamadi Diakite’s game-tying shot on the finish of regulation towards Purdue, in a sport the Hoos went on to win in additional time. However even the victory over the Boilermakers would possibly take a backseat in Virginia lore to what occurred towards Auburn.
Tony Bennett’s crew was down by 4 factors with 17 seconds left, and nonetheless trailed by two with 1.5 seconds remaining. That is when Ty Jerome inbounded the ball to Kyle Man within the left nook, who was fouled by Samir Doughty within the act of capturing a Three with zero.6 seconds left within the sport.
Man made all three free throws, Auburn’s try at a full-court miracle fell quick, and the remaining is historical past. Virginia received 63-62 and can play for the title.
Kyle Man made the decisive three free throws after a foul was referred to as on Auburn’s Samir Doughty. Streeter Lecka/Getty Photographs
Controversy was all over the place within the final 5 seconds
It wasn’t simply the decision towards Doughty. With roughly 2.eight seconds left on the clock, Jerome was bringing the ball rapidly up the ground as his crew trailed 62-60. The junior tried a behind-the-back dribble, when the ball hit the again of his proper foot.
As Jerome retrieved the ball after it had bounced away from him, he picked it up as a substitute of continuous his dribble. The play ought to have been referred to as a double-dribble.
Jerome and De’Andre Hunter performed Virginia into the nationwide title sport
In a sport that will likely be remembered for Man hitting three supremely vital free throws, it was two of his teammates who put the Cavaliers in place to drag off one other unbelievable end.
Jerome led all scorers with 21 factors and was Four-of-9 on his 3s. Hunter got here out sturdy after halftime. Within the second half, he scored 10 of his 14 factors within the newest Virginia sport that got here in beneath 60 possessions (59) and got here right down to the wire.
Auburn mounted an incredible comeback
The sport truly successfully over when Virginia led 57-47 with 5:22 remaining, however the Tigers fought again thanks to a few made 3s down the stretch by Bryce Brown. The senior completed the sport with 12 factors, however his heroics within the remaining minutes had been almost sufficient for Bruce Pearl’s crew to drag out the win.
Specifically, Brown and his teammates excelled at caring for the ball and maximizing the variety of probabilities they needed to rating. No Auburn participant recorded greater than two offensive boards, however as a crew the Tigers pulled down 9 offensive rebounds. It was virtually sufficient.
Virginia will want higher capturing on the line and extra second probabilities Monday night time
Earlier than Man went Three-of-Three on the line within the final second of the sport, Virginia had gone simply Three-of-9 on its free throws. If not for the miracle end, wasted probabilities on the line had been going to be this crew’s final reminiscence.
Talking of surprises, the Cavaliers rebounded simply 17 p.c of their missed pictures. On an evening when Bennett’s crew was recording its greatest capturing of the match because the Gardner-Webb sport, the dearth of scoring alternatives almost price them their season. Virginia will wish to do higher on the offensive glass on Monday night time.