CHARLOTTE – Whether its held in Brooklyn or Charlotte, Kyle Guy clearly likes the ACC Tournament stage lately.
The reigning ACC Tournament MVP unleashed another sizzling shooting performance Thursday to help Virginia dispatch NC State from the 2019 event, 76-56. Guy finished with a game-high 29 points as he missed just three shots all afternoon.
“I thought Kyle Guy’s performance was as good as I’ve seen this year as far as a guy playing well against us,” NCSU coach Kevin Keatts said. “When you look at his percentages, I don’t care who they play today … it was going to be hard to beat them today.”
It took Guy just four minutes to make his first shot, a lightning quick catch-and-shoot 3-pointer right in front of State’s bench. Over the next 36 minutes, that scene repeated itself over and over. Guy eventually finished 7 of 9 from 3-point range (77.8%) and 10 of 13 overall (76.9%). He missed just once after intermission, that coming on his first attempt of the half which Jack Salt chased down the rebound and turned it into a driving and-one layup.
This marked the 16th time that Guy has ripped off at least 5 triples in a game. That’s happened three times in the last five games and nine times this season. He also went 7-9 against Marshall and 8-10 against Syracuse this season.
Thursday’s fiery shooting performance added another line to Guy’s growing ACC Tournament legacy. When Virginia captured the title in Brooklyn last season, Guy won MVP honors thanks to similar offensive fireworks. In the opener against Louisville, he scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting overall (50%) which included 4 of 6 triples. (66.7%). Against Clemson, he scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (50%) which included 3 of 7 triples (42.9%). In the title game against UNC, he tallied 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting (46.7%) which included 2 of 4 triples (50%). You know someone is shooting the ball well from downtown when a 42.9% outing jumps out as the low mark.
Adding together his last four ACC Tournament outings, Guy has knocked down 30 of 54 shots overall (55.5%) and 16 of 26 3-pointers (61.5%).
Guy moved up on some Virginia record lists as well with his 7 3’s against the Wolfpack. He’s now third on the program’s career 3-pointers list with 238. He needs 26 more to pass Joe Harris for second. He’s second on the single-season chart with 104 this season. He needs 27 to pass Curtis Staples, who made 130 in 1997-98. So far this season, Guy is shooting 46.4% from 3-point range and that brings his current career percentage to 44.2%. That’s on pace to take over as the school’s career percentage leader from downtown as Keith Friel is on top currently at 42.1%.
Guy also took over 33rd on UVA’s all-time scoring list with 1,226 points.
Playing with a shooter that owns that sort of resume, when Guy was obviously feeling it early, his teammates found ways to get him the ball. Among the team’s 18 assists, 9 helpers came on passes to Guy. Ty Jerome found him five times for buckets, accounting for half of his 10 assists, while De’Andre Hunter and Kihei Clark dished 2 assists each to the junior sharp-shooter.
With Jerome missing his shots (1-11), Guy was happy that his teammates got him the ball and that he could pick up the slack.
“Well, you know, shots are going to come and go, defense is always there, so I definitely felt, not pleasure, but that I needed to be a little more aggressive when Ty’s shot is not falling,” Guy said. “But again, he runs the show and had 10 assists, so even though he didn’t shoot well, he did fine. Again, 18 points for Jack [Salt], we’ll take that any day.”
Of course, Guy has added much more than 3-point shooting to his arsenal at this point. Against State on Thursday, he also posted 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Guy has grabbed 4 or more rebounds 19 times this season and distributed 3 or more assists 15 times as well. A year ago, Guy had 4 or more rebounds just 10 times and 3 or more assists just 8 times.
The passing category continues to be notable as Guy’s no-look helpers and driving dishes have become a key part of his success this season. As teams try to run him away from the 3-point line or fight his work off of screens, Guy is finding ways to get others involved. A key example in the game against NCSU came late in the first half when Guy sprinted off a screen on an inbounds play, drove baseline, and then found Jay Huff elevated up the floor for a 3-pointer. Last season, he had just three games after Jan. 1 with at least 3 assists. This season, he’s done that 10 times already.
“We had a meeting, a coaches’ player meeting after every year and talk about what we need to work on and stuff, and creating my own shot and creating for others was on that list,” Guy said. “I always knew I could do it, it was just getting the confidence and putting it to work like I did today.”
That’s all part of the reason Guy has earned first-team All-ACC honors and at least one spot on an All-American team in two straight seasons.
“Kyle is complete, he’s so efficient,” UVA coach Tony Bennett said. “You look at that stat line, but he’s deceptive with that as far as getting in there, and I thought he made some terrific passes to guys, and he’s unselfish, so yes, that’s a triple threat. Those kinds of things make a guy, if you just say, run him off the line, run him off the line, you can’t do that. So I think that makes him and us more efficient and effective offensively.”