Bryce Brown was trying to foul.
The senior guard swiped at Virginia's Ty Jerome as Jerome brought the ball up the floor with Auburn leading 62-60. The officials swallowed their whistles and let them play on. Jerome then lost the ball off his own foot, but instead of stopping his dribble and making a pass, he picked the ball up and advanced to the frontcourt.
The rest is history. On a last-second 3-point attempt, Virginia's Kyle Guy was fouled by Auburn's Samir Doughty. Guy sank all three freebies to lift the Cavaliers to the title game and send the Tigers packing.
The NCAA issued a statement on the foul call against Doughty, but most fans realized that it was the correct call because Doughty took away Guy's landing spot and bumped him as he shot. Fans wanted the double-dribble addressed. The statement for that never came.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl, along with the rest of his players, were gracious in defeat after the game, blaming only themselves, not the officials.
"(Officials) are going to make the best decision to the best of their ability," Doughty said. "... He made the right call if that's the call he called."
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Brown came off the floor calling for the NCAA to get "new refs," but he said in the locker room that was the wrong thing to say in the heat of the moment.
"That's not where we lost the game," Brown said. "We had a few mental lapses throughout the game."
On a Monday taping of ESPN's "Get Up!", Pearl joined to discuss the game's ending further — specifically, the double-dribble.
He had one overarching message about the play: Get over it.
"There is human error involved in the game," Pearl said. "Kids make mistakes. Coaches make mistakes. Yes, officials will make mistakes — that's part of the game. Get over it.
"Sometimes they're going to go your way, sometime's they're not."
Jerome admitted Sunday that he did double-dribble.
“I knew they weren’t gonna call double-dribble after they let that one go," Jerome told USA Today. “... It’s hard to be a ref. They miss a lot. So you’ve got to play on."
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