Near the halfway point of the first half Saturday, Pittsburgh was still hanging in against No. 2 Virginia on its home floor. UVA’s top-scoring trio changed that in a hurry with a flurry and the Hoos cruised to a 73-49 win at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter combined for 42 points in the win, which included 23 points during the final 11:22 before intermission. They keyed a 28-9 half-ending surge that turned an 11-10 score into a 39-19 margin and essentially put the Panthers away.
“Virginia has a really good team,” Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel said. “In the time that Tony [Bennett]’s been here, and in my time in the ACC, I think this is the best offensive team that he has had. Obviously, the defense is consistent throughout the season and every year. I think they have three really elite players in Guy, Jerome, and Hunter. When they surround them with other guys that are good, it’s an experience. So, congratulations to them on the win this afternoon and a great season so far.”
The decisive end to the first half featured a 21-2 run from the Cavaliers. Jay Huff started it with layup behind a zone look and Kihei Clark notched a steal that led to two free throws to cap it. Guy, Jerome, and Hunter combined for 16 of the other 17 points in that stretch. Guy knocked down three 3-pointers, Hunter hit two buckets and a free throw, and Jerome tossed in a shot as well before adding 5 more points by halftime.
Guy led all scorers with 17 points in the game. He made 6 of 9 shots overall and 5 of 7 triples to reach that total, which marked the 14th time in his career that he’s made at least 5 treys in a game. He’s up to 86 3-pointers, good enough for fifth on the program’s single season record list just ahead of his 83 3’s from last season. Jerome finished with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with 2 assists. Hunter added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting to go with 3 rebounds and 5 assists.
The 14-of-20 shooting effort helped push UVA to 58.5% overall (24 of 41) and their 7-of-10 shooting mark from 3-point range led the team’s 56.3% performance from behind the arc (9 of 16). The lopsided margin allowed all three to play fewer minutes than usual as well with a trip to Syracuse up quickly on Monday. Hunter logged 29 minutes, while Guy and Jerome each played 25.
“The competitor in me just wants to play,” Jerome said with a grin. “I look forward to games all week. The game is the best part of life, but of course it [sitting out] will pay off. We have a quick turn around and play on Monday again, so anytime we can get rest it’s definitely beneficial.”
Virginia supplemented its scoring with five other players scoring 5 points or more. Clark, Mamadi Diakite, and Marco Anthony all posted 6 points, while Huff and Braxton Key tallied 5 each. Huff had a career-high 3 steals. It’s the second time this week that the Hoos put together a balanced box score. Seven players recorded 7 points or more in the win against Georgia Tech on Wednesday too.
Combine that with some stingy defense and the Cavaliers are tough to beat. They held Pitt to just 38.6% shooting on the day, the 22nd time this season an opponent fell short of 40%. Jared Wilson-Frame led this team with 15 points and 4 assists, while Au’diese Toney had 12 points and 7 rebounds. UVA held Pittsburgh’s leading scorer Xavier Johnson without a field goal and he scored just 3 points from free throws.
The Wahoos improved to 10-0 this season and 86-2 in Bennett’s tenure when holding their opponent to fewer than 50 points.
“I like the way we came out defensively,” Bennett said. “I thought we were alert. I thought we were together in how we needed to play. Pittsburgh is a young team and they’re athletic and they’re aggressive and we had to be in position. If we weren’t, those guards can get into the lane. I thought we were locked in defensively, moved the ball, and played the right way.”