Guy's 22 points push No. 3 Virginia past Syracuse 68-61
By HANK KURZ Jr.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Kyle Guy shot his way out of a slump and led No. 3 Virginia to a win over Syracuse.
Guy made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points to help the Cavaliers beat the Orange 68-61 on Tuesday night.
"It's about time," the sophomore said after reaching his 15-point average for the first time in four games.
The Cavaliers' top scorer said his confidence never wavered during the slump, and he earned some ribbing from teammates.
"They make fun of me because I keep shooting whether it goes in or not," he said.
De'Andre Hunter added 15 points for Virginia (15-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which attempted a season-high 27 3s and made nine. Hunter, a redshirt freshman, scored eight points in a row during a span of three minutes after checking into the game in the first half. He has scored in double figures in four of his last five games.
"He's played at a different level the past few games," Ty Jerome said. "It's just a matter of believing in himself, I think."
Hunter, too, has gotten some ribbing as his role has increased, but his has come from his family.
"I just feel a lot more confident," he said. "My family told me to stop talking about confidence as much because I say it in almost every interview, but that's what it is. It's confidence."
Devon Hall added 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Virginia, which won its seventh in a row.
Frank Howard scored 18 points to lead the Orange (12-5, 1-3). Oshae Brissett added 16 points and Paschal Chukwu scored nine points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but the Orange shot under 40 percent against the nation's top scoring defense and managed just three assists on 23 baskets. Syracuse finished 6 for 21 from 3-point territory and was just 2 of 12 after halftime, in one stretch missing nine straight.
"We had some opportunities but couldn't get the ball in the basket," Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim said. "They make it difficult for you to get really good shots."
Chukwu grabbed 10 of his rebounds on the offensive end, but Syracuse only enjoyed a 17-16 advantage in second-chance points.
Virginia led 29-26 at halftime and pushed the lead to 44-35 when Ty Jerome made three 3-pointers in a span of two minutes and Guy made his fourth with 12:17 left.
The Cavaliers led by 14 before consecutive turnovers converted by the Orange pulled them with 64-59 with 29 seconds to play. Hall converted a pair of free throws to give the Cavaliers some breathing room, and Guy finished the scoring with a pair of his own.
Virginia has twice blown double-digit leads against the Orange, including in an Elite Eight NCAA Tournament game two years ago, but didn't let this one get away.
"It was good to finish it, even if it was wobbling a bit," coach Tony Bennett said.
Syracuse: The Orange essentially use only six players, and three of them - Tyus Battle (19.5), Howard (15.4) and Brissett (15.2) - account for most of the scoring. Seven-foot-2 Chukwu averages 5.5 points but gets most of his scoring opportunities from collecting offensive rebounds. Matthew Moyer had six points as the Orange starters accounted for all 61 of the team's points.
Virginia: The Cavaliers' offensive options continue to expand. Hunter scored eight points in a span of three minutes after checking in during the first half. Jerome missed his first five attempts from 3-point range, then made three in a row in a span of just over two minutes early in the second half. "He got one in transition and the next two were pretty deep," Boeheim said of Jerome, who scored nine points.
The Orange remain on the road against a ranked team as they face No. 23 Florida State on Saturday.
Virginia finishes a three-game home-stand as it hosts North Carolina State on Sunday.
More AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated January 9, 2018