Auburn basketball found itself 1.5 seconds away from the first NCAA Tournament championship game berth in program history. Instead, Samir Doughty committed a foul against Virginia’s Kyle Guy, who stepped up to the charity stripe and drilled all three shots. With next to no time left to get a good shot, the Tigers season came to an end, and the Cavaliers picked up a 63-62 victory.
Fans of Bruce Pearl’s program are assuredly heartbroken — there is no way to put into words the mixture of confusion, sadness, and anger that sports fans feel when a win of this magnitude slips through their team’s fingers, other than to say if you’ve felt it, you can empathize. But what we can do is watch as Charles Barkley, who’s providing analysis for CBS during the NCAA Tournament, reacts to the foul from his position a few hundred feet from the play.
Barkley, of course, was a standout at Auburn, and has had a shrine to his alma mater on the set during their tourney games. He wasn’t mad about how it ended, though, saying after the game that he did think Doughty committed a foul and giving Guy credit for coming up huge.
“I wanna say this,” Barkley said. “It might have been a good call, you can’t put yourself in that situation. Give the kid from Virginia great courage to make all three of those free throws, but I think it was a foul. My guys played as hard as they could, they got down double-digits, got the lead. That’s just a tough loss, man. That hurts, it really hurts.”
Later in the broadcast, while discussing a missed double-dribble on Virginia’s Ty Jerome that went uncalled in the moments before the three, Barkley admitted he was fighting back tears. That’s probably not a unique feeling among the Tiger faithful right now, but at the very least, they can hold their heads high knowing that they witnessed a special season, even if it ended amid some controversy.