Behind stunning three-point shooting, No. 2 Virginia picked up a road win over Syracuse, 79-53. The Cavaliers (27-2, 15-2 ACC) tied a school record with 18 threes as they topped the Orange (19-11, 10-7 ACC) Monday night.
While Virginia had a 26-point victory, the game started out as a back-and-forth contest, with the largest lead of the first half being a six-point lead by Syracuse. Although the Cavaliers were shooting 66.7 percent from three and 45.5 percent on field goals in the first half, they shot poorly from inside the paint and had eight turnovers, which kept the game close. With 38.7 percent shooting overall and 38.5 percent from three in the first half, Syracuse was able to build a slight 34-32 lead heading into the locker room.
In the second half, Virginia opened up a lead as junior guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome and sophomore guard De’Andre Hunter hit their stride from three. The trio sparked the Cavaliers on a 27-3 run. Virginia went from being down 43-42 with 15:09 remaining to having a 69-46 lead with 5:28 to play and cruised to victory from there.
Guy finished the night with 25 points, going an impressive 8-10 from three. Guy also finished as Virginia’s leading rebounder with seven rebounds. Hunter also put up big numbers as he dropped 21 points, including five three-pointers.
Jerome rounded out the stellar three-point shooting as he went 5-6 from beyond the arc for 15 points. He also had 14 assists, giving him his third double-double of the season. His 14 assists tied the Virginia single game record.
As a team, the Cavaliers shot 72 percent from three and 54.9 percent overall. Not only were the 18 three-pointers the most that the program has made in a single game, but they were also the most threes any opponent has scored against Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim.
In addition to strong shooting, Virginia tightened up its play in other areas as the game progressed.
The Cavaliers turned it over just three times in the second half, while forcing the Orange to commit six turnovers. Virginia’s defense also made things difficult for Syracuse, causing the Orange to shoot 26.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc in the second half.
Junior forward Mamadi Diakite was part of what made things hard for the Orange to score inside, as he picked up four blocks.
Syracuse finished with three scorers hitting double figures, as freshman guard Buddy Boeheim, junior guard Tyus Battle and junior forward Elijah Hughes all had 11 points.
Next up for the Cavaliers is a Saturday matchup against Louisville to close out the regular season. The game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. tipoff from Charlottesville. After that, Virginia will gear up for the ACC Tournament, where they’ll have a double bye.