Kyle Guy's 23 Points Propel No. 3 UVA to Road Win vs. No. 20 Virginia Tech

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2019

BLACKSBURG, VA - FEBRUARY 18: Kyle Guy #5 of the University of Virginia Cavaliers dunks the ball while being defended by Ty Outlaw #42 of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Cassell Coliseum on February 18, 2019 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images)
Lauren Rakes/Getty Images

For the first time in four years, Virginia has swept the season series against Virginia Tech.

The No. 3 Cavaliers earned a 64-58 road win over the No. 20 Hokies Monday thanks to 23 points from Kyle Guy. The Commonwealth Clash had been one of the few roadblocks for Virginia (23-2) over the past few seasons, but the team finally found success in Cassell Coliseum.

Virginia Tech (20-6) failed to avenge its earlier loss to its in-state rival despite Kerry Blackshear Jr. totaling 23 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. Finishing 3-of-28 as a team from three-point range effectively killed any chances of pulling the upset.

         

Red-Hot Kyle Guy Can Fuel Virginia to Deep Tournament Run

For a couple of weeks, Kyle Guy struggled with his shot and it resulted in a loss to Duke and two wins that were closer than they should've been. He shot just 31.7 percent from the field during a three-game stretch, including 6-of-22 from three-point range.

He has fortunately broken out of this stretch with 20 points against North Carolina, 22 versus Notre Dame and now 23 against Virginia Tech.

The guard finished 8-of-15 from the field, shooting 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Guy even surprised many with a put-back slam in the first half.

When Virginia Tech threatened a comeback in the final minutes, another Guy three-pointer silenced the home crowd.

This type of production would be good with any team, but it's even more impressive considering Virginia has the slowest pace in the country, per KenPom.com. Players on Duke or North Carolina have a lot more opportunities to score but Guy makes the most of his chances and still remains productive.

If he can continue this pace or close to it, it could make a huge difference for Virginia as it tries to make a deep run in the tournament.

The Cavaliers have had disappointing early exits in recent years, losing in the second round of 2017 and notably falling to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round last season. The program has only reached the second weekend of the tournament twice in nine years under Tony Bennett despite tons of success during the regular season.

While the defense is always elite, one of the problems has been the lack of a go-to option offensively who can take over when things aren't going well.

Now in his third year, Guy appears to be that player who can make plays against quality opponents when needed.

          

Nickeil Alexander-Walker Failed Biggest Test in Front of NBA Scouts

Coming into the day, Nickeil Alexander-Walker wasn't only Virginia Tech's leading scorer, he was also the team's best pro prospect. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman predicted the guard would go No. 13 overall in his latest mock draft. 

Monday's game was an excellent chance to show what he can do against an elite opponent with numerous scouts in attendance:

Unfortunately, his performance against Virginia was mostly a dud.

Alexander-Walker finished with 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting. He missed all six of his three-point shots and even struggled from the free-throw line at 3-of-6.

The sophomore was swallowed up by De'Andre Hunter, who is also expected to be a high draft pick this summer. This wasn't a great sign for his prospects considering the NBA has a lot of players who can defend like Hunter.

Even when the Virginia guard was on the bench in the first half, Alexander-Walker couldn't take advantage.

Although his confidence remained high, he rarely looked to pass despite his shooting struggles with all four of his assists coming in the first half.

Despite the poor performance, Alexander-Walker still has the talent to be a lottery pick.

His long arms and athleticism make him an ideal defender in the NBA, and he showed he can defend multiple positions by spending time on Hunter and Ty Jerome Monday. He also entered the game shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three-point range, so offensive efficiency is rarely a problem. 

Still, scouts likely came away concerned with his effort against Hunter and Virginia.

          

What's Next?

The schedule remains difficult for Virginia, which will go on the road to face Louisville on Saturday. Virginia Tech will travel to Notre Dame before its highly anticipated matchup with Duke on Tuesday.

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