Kyle Guy, No. 4 Virginia Beat No. 9 Florida State 65-52 in ACC Play

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2019

Virginia guard Kyle Guy (5) is fouled as he goes up for a shot against Florida State guard Terance Mann (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Steve Helber/Associated Press

Kyle Guy led the No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers to a dominant 65-52 win over the No. 9 Florida Seminoles at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

Guy led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 shooting from downtown to go along with five rebounds and three assists.

With the win, UVA improved to 13-0 on the season, while the Noles fell to 12-2 and suffered their first loss since November.

The Cavs locked down FSU defensively, as the Seminoles shot just 34.1 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range in defeat.

Meanwhile, Virginia continued to show offensive improvement by shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line, although the team did only shoot a modest 40.4 percent from the field.

Along with Guy, Virginia received a strong showing from junior guard Braxton Key, who scored 20 points off the bench.

After taking a 10-9 lead with 12:09 left in the opening half, Virginia led the rest of the way and pulled away from an overmatched FSU team.

Guy made a pair of treys in the final two minutes of the first half, and the Cavaliers carried a 42-23 advantage into halftime that the Seminoles could not overcome.

While Virginia cooled off a bit offensively in the second half, Florida State's inability to find an offensive rhythm against UVA's suffocating defense resulted in a blowout in favor of the Cavaliers.

FSU did manage to make the score look a bit better cosmetically in the closing moments when Virginia took its foot off the gas, but the end result was never in doubt.

Guy's Improvement Makes UVA Biggest Threat to Duke in ACC

Pundits were seemingly down on Virginia entering the season, but with Guy developing into an elite scorer, the Cavs are capable of giving Duke a run for its money in the ACC.

Entering Saturday's game, Guy was averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and 45.6 percent from long range.

He improved on those numbers against FSU, as Norm Wood of the Daily Press effectively summed up the groove Guy found himself in Saturday:

Guy was knocking down essentially everything in the first half, which prompted Barstool FSU to practically implode:

Even when Guy was contested, though, he made his shots, which is something that wasn't always true last season.

Guy shot just 41.5 percent as a sophomore and was nowhere near as consistent as he has been thus far in 2018-19.

As a team, Virginia has made some significant strides offensively this season, and it has especially been in a groove recently. In its final game of non-conference play, Virginia destroyed Marshall 100-64, and Guy led the way with 30 points, including seven three-pointers made.

If the Cavaliers can continue to thrive offensively, then they will be a difficult team to beat all season long given their defensive excellence.

Considering the fact that UVA became the first team in NCAA tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed as a No. 1 last season, it is easy to forget it started 31-2 and won both the ACC regular-season and conference tournament championships.

This year's Virginia team appears to be even better and more complete, and that gives it the best chance of anyone in the conference to knock off a Duke squad that is led by a bevy of impressive freshmen.

Lack of Go-To Scorer Will Keep FSU Out of ACC Title Contention

An all-around approach helped Florida State get off to a great start this season, but it was exposed offensively by Virginia due largely to the absence of a go-to scorer on the roster.

Entering Saturday's game, FSU had just three players averaging double figures in points this season in the form of Terance Mann, Mfiondu Kabengele and Trent Forrest.

That trio was shut down by Virginia, and no Florida State player scored more than nine points against the Cavaliers.

Mann played especially poorly Saturday, as he was held scoreless, while Forrest finished with just one point.

Nobody stepped up to shoulder the offensive load, and Tashan Reed of The Athletic was among those who viewed it as a problem:

Skip Foster of the Tallahassee Democrat agreed and also shed light on some of the Seminoles' other issues:

With no go-to guy offensively, the Seminoles looked lost, especially during the opening half of the game.

According to Wayne McGahee III of the Tallahassee Democrat, FSU turned in a pathetic performance from the field during the first half that resulted in it being forced to dig out of a deep hole the rest of the way:

In some respects, Florida State's depth is a good thing since it can lessen the impact of foul trouble and keep players fresh throughout the game.

The fact that eight players average seven or more points per game is impressive as well, but it underscores the lack of one or two players who can be counted on in the game's biggest moments.

Florida State still has the makings of a tournament team and it won't necessarily be an easy out, but it can't match up with elite ACC teams like Virginia, Duke or North Carolina until a few players step up and separate themselves from the rest of the roster.

              

What's Next?

Virginia will look to remain perfect Wednesday when it travels to face the Boston College Eagles on the road in an ACC clash.

Meanwhile, Florida State will look to get back on track Wednesday when it hosts the Miami Hurricanes in a rivalry game.

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