To say the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers were hot from three on Monday night against Syracuse would be the biggest understatement of the season. The Hoos went 18-for-25 (72%) from beyond the arc — matching a school single-game high — as Virginia improved to 27-2 (15-2 ACC) and locked up no worse than No. 2 in next week’s ACC tournament. Syracuse fell to 19-11 (10-7 ACC) with the loss.
Trailing 40-37, Virginia closed the game on a 42-13 run over the final 16:09 of the game as the defense clamped down and the offense stayed hot.
Kyle Guy led the Hoos with 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting from three to go with a team high seven rebounds. De’Andre Hunter went 7-for-13 from the field and 5-for-7 from three for 21 points and added four rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Ty Jerome was outstanding, scoring 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting from three and notched his third double-double of the season with a career-high 14 assists (and just two turnovers).
Mamadi Diakite added nine points and four rebounds, and Jay Huff had four points, four rebounds, and a steal.
As a team, the Hoos shot 55% from the field, assisted 21 of 28 field goals, and turned the ball over 11 times (just three in the second half with two coming in garbage time). They held Syracuse to 19 second half points and 33% shooting from the field.
Tyus Battle, Elijah Hughes, and Buddy Boeheim all had 11 points apiece for the Orange.
Virginia won the tip, but turned it over on its first possession as Clark tried to find Hunter in the middle of the 2-3 zone. Paschal Chukwu gave Syracuse the first points of the game, making both from the free throw line. A floater from Jerome rattled off the iron for the Hoos, and Guy missed a three wide on Virginia’s next possession (after a miss from the Orange).
Guy gave Virginia its first points and the lead with a three from the corner, but Frank Howard answered to give the Orange a 5-3 lead. Jerome joined the party with a three from dead center after Cuse gave him way too long, putting Virginia back on top. A shot clock violation gave the Hoos the ball back with 16:45 to play in the first half, but Jerome’s three clanged off the rim.
Brissett got a runner to finish to give the Orange the one-point lead, and the Hoos turned it over again on the other end. Battle couldn’t connect on a three and Jerome would retain possession for Virginia. Another empty trip gave the ball back to the Orange with a chance to extend its lead, but Brissett was called for an offensive foul. After a review, the refs charged Brissett with a Flagrant 1 for elbowing Jerome in the head.
Jerome made one-of-two at the line, and Guy buried a three on the ensuing possession to give Virginia a 10-7 lead with 14:31 to play. A Hughes flop sent him to the line to shoot three, making all of them to tie the game at 10. After empty trips from both teams, Jerome connected on another three to give the lead back to Virginia.
Back-to-back buckets from the Orange — a dunk and a three after another live ball turnover — put Syracuse up 15-13. Hunter got his first bucket on a gorgeous three to give the lead right back to Virginia. Battle missed a layup, but Chukwu was there for the put back slam. Syracuse was unable to build their lead as Hughes missed a three that careened out of bounds.
Another turnover gave the Orange a look at a runout, but Jerome’s quick hands forced the turnover. On the other end, Jerome hit his third three of the half to put the Hoos up 19-17 with 9:43 to play. Battle tied things at 19, but Braxton Key got Virginia’s first two-pointer to go to give the Hoos the advantage once more.
Buddy Boeheim put the Orange back on top by one thanks to a three with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half. Hunter hit Virginia’s seventh three of the first half to give Virginia a two-point lead, but Battle backed down Clark to tie the score once more. Syracuse re-took the lead at 26-24 thanks to a Chukwu offensive rebound and put-back.
Guy drew a foul, but only converted one at the line. Syracuse took a six point lead thanks to five straight points from Boeheim. Hunter missed out on a chance to convert an old-fashioned three-point play but brought the Hoos back within four at 31-27. Diakite came up with a huge block on the defensive end, and Hunter took it to the hoop strong where he was fouled. This time he made both free throws, pulling Virginia back within two with 2:53 left in the first half.
Virginia re-took the lead once again with a deep three from Guy, but the Hoos couldn’t extend their lead thanks to their eighth turnover of the first half. After misses by both teams, Howard hit a three to put the Orange up 34-32 to end the first half.
Hot three-point shooting kept the Hoos in it in the first 20 minutes as Virginia went 8-for-12 (67%) from beyond the arc. The Big Three of Hunter, Jerome, and Guy combined for 30 of Virginia’s 32 points (10 points apiece) in the first half. Virginia turned the ball over eight times in the first half, mostly trying to feed the middle of the zone, leading to 12 points for Syracuse.
The Orange shot 39% from the field and 39% from three, led by Chukwu and Boeheim with eight points apiece. Syracuse got nine second chance points off of eight offensive rebounds, and only turned the ball over four times in the first half.
Syracuse opened the second half with a layup from Brissett, but Hunter answered with a jumper to keep the Hoos within two. Hunter kept a miss from Jerome alive, and Jerome was able to find Guy for a step-in three to give Virginia a one-point lead. Hughes responded with a runner in the lane that bounced off the back of the rim and in to give Cuse a 38-37 lead.
Salt drew a foul going to the rim, but missed both free throws. Syracuse was unable to build its lead, but Virginia couldn’t retake the advantage after another turnover. Brissett drew a foul on Key, making both to push the Orange’s lead to 40-37 with just over 16 minutes remaining.
Jerome wasted no time tying the game up yet again with his fourth three-pointer, and Jay Huff’s first bucket put Virginia ahead 42-40. A three from Battle put the Orange back in front as the two squads continued trading baskets. The hot three-point shooting for Virginia continued as Hunter connected on his third shot from deep to put the Hoos back on top once again.
Huff blocked Chukwu’s shot on the defensive end, and Diakite somehow laid in an alley-oop from Jerome to give Virginia its largest lead of the night at 47-43. Jerome extended Virginia’s advantage to seven points with yet another three-pointer, this one from near the logo at mid-court.
Both squads traded misses before Guy hit Virginia’s 13th three of the night to build a 53-43 lead, pushing the Hoos’ scoring run to 11-0 over just shy of five minutes of game time. Boeheim ended Syracuse’s scoring drought with a three-pointer, making it a seven-point game with 9:44 remaining.
A strong take from Diakite led to a bucket and the foul. He would miss the free throw, but a tap out from Huff kept the play alive. Hunter couldn’t get a jumper to go, but blocked a shot on the other end to get the ball back to the Hoos. Guy’s sixth (!!) three of the game gave Virginia a 58-46 advantage, then came up with a steal. On the ensuing possession, Hunter — stop me if you’ve heard this before — hit a three to give the Hoos a 15-point cushion with just under eight minutes to play.
Diakite’s third block of the game preceded a dunk from the golden haired big man to give the Hoos a 63-46 lead. With just over six minutes left in the half, Guy hit Virginia’s 16th three of the game, the most made by the Hoos in a game this season and tied for the most given up by Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Guy would put the Hoos in a spot all their own with his career-high eighth made three that put Virginia up 69-46 with 5:24 remaining.
Hughes would momentarily stop the Hoos flood of threes with one of his own, but Hunter answered with ANOTHER three, tying the Virginia single-game record for threes (Gonzaga, 2007). Jerome found Diakite for a make with a foul, and the big man connected from the free throw line to build Virginia’s advantage to 26 points.
Huff slammed home a dunk to make it 77-49 with 2:42 to play, and Tony Bennett cleared the bench. Battle and the Orange starters would press Virginia’s subs, leading to two buckets for the home team before Boeheim would put his substitutes in. Jayden Nixon would get a layup off of a miss from Kody Stattmann to give Virginia a 79-53 lead with under a minute to play.
Next up, Virginia welcomes Louisville to Charlottesville on Saturday for Senior Day.