DAVID J PHILLIP / AP
Kiwi Jack Sal of Virginia blocks a shot by Samir Doughty of Auburn during the NCAA basketball semifinal in Minneapolis.
Jack Salt created the story by becoming the first Kiwi to make the men's NCAA Finals of United States University basketball.
The great center of Auckland and its side of the University of Virginia Cavaliers are ready for the final on Monday (Tuesday). Virginia beat Auburn 63-62 in a drama-filled final for the Final Four semifinal at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday (NZT Sunday).
Salt did what Kirk Penney, former Tall Blacks and New Zealand Breakers, failed to do with the Penney Wisconsin team losing their NCAA semifinal to eventual Michigan State Champion in 2000 in their first year.
Sal, a senior, was restricted by the first two half-misses, and had no points and two rebounds, but had an impact on his physical presence, putting the screens on the attack.
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Auburn appeared to be going into the final, taking 62-60 with 0.6 seconds remaining, but Samir Doughty messed up Kyle Guy in the act of firing a three-pointer.
Guy quietly slotted in all three of his free throws to put Virginia ahead and send them in his first male NCAA basketball final in school history.
Virginia will meet the winner of the other semifinal Sunday afternoon (NZT) between Michigan State and Texas Tech in the final of the NCAA tournament, dubbed March Madness.
Auburn was down 57-47 with 5.24 chips but returned to the competition and appeared to be in charge, taking 61-57 with 17 seconds left, having held the Cavaliers scoreless for five minutes.
Guy took three crucial with nine seconds to reduce the deficit to 61-60.
Auburn took a 31-28 lead at halftime but made a start of horror for the second half.
They went more than six minutes without a field goal to start the second half, with Virginia opening with an 8-0 run.
Virginia was led by point guard Ty Jerome (21 points, nine rebounds and six assists) while Guy (15 points, four assists) and De & # 39; Andre Hunter (14 points and five rebounds) had big games.
Top Doughty scored for Auburn with 13 points.