Basketball: Kiwi Jack Salt creates history with Virginia Cavaliers in national championships

Jack Salt.
Jack Salt. Photo credit: Getty

Tall Blacks centre Jack Salt has created history, becoming the first Kiwi to reach US college basketball's national championship final with the University of Virginia.

On Sunday (NZ time), Salt's Cavaliers beat Auburn 63-62 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to reach the national championship final - the first time Virginia has reached college basketball's biggest match. 

No Kiwi has ever won the national title. Kirk Penney helped the University of Wisconsin to the 2000 'Final Four' in his freshman year, while former Tall Fern Jillian Harmon helped Stanford University to the women's final in 2008.

Two early fouls saw Salt limited to just eight minutes of court time and the 23-year-old finished the match with zero points and two rebounds.

Regardless of his stats, to reach the national championship final is a massive achievement, as it's something most of the NBA's best players have never achieved.

Virginia looked set to cruise into the final, but Auburn erased a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes and led 62-60 with 7.6s left.

Salt's teammate, Kyle Guy, then launched a three-pointer to win the match, which missed, but he was fouled in the act of shooting and was awarded three free-throws with 0.6s remaining.

Guy nailed all three free-throws and Auburn had a late chance to win the match against their higher-ranked opponents, but ran out of time.

"Kyle is clutch," Salt said after the game. "He's the guy we want on the line."

Virginia will face either Michigan State or Texas Tech in the final on Tuesday (NZT).