Kyle Guy leads Virginia to win at Cal

When guard Malcolm Brogdon, one of the top scorers in Virginia men’s basketball history, graduated last May, the Cavaliers figured to have junior transfer Austin Nicholas in the fold to replace a piece of his output in 2016-17. However, just over a month ago, the forward was dismissed from the team after suiting up for only one game.

Although head coach Tony Bennett’s unit places No. 12 in the nation in offensive efficiency (1.16 points per posession), No. 12/10 Virginia (10-1) desperately called for a playmaker late in the contest versus the California Bears (9-3). Tied at 44 apiece with under five minutes to go, freshman Kyle Guy dialed in, scoring nine of its final 12 points to eek out a 56-52 victory in Berkeley, Calif.

Overall, Guy finished with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, along with four rebounds, in a season-high 29 minutes. While the guard produced a season-high 20 points in a victory over Grambling in November, he resembled the clear-cut spark plug in the impressive road win. Despite Cal’s inability to claw into the polls just yet, the loss snapped its 27-game home win streak.

Moreover, the 6-foot-3, 165-pounder helped contain Bears’ guards Jabari Bird and Charlie Moore to a combined 8-of-29 from the field, as well as a mere 5-of-17 shooting beyond the perimeter. Hence, his tenacity on that side of the hardwood fits in perfectly with Bennett’s pack-line defense.

As a senior in high school, Guy ranked No. 27 in ESPN’s top-100 recruits of the 2016 class, receiving offers from Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Xavier and even Cal. In a loaded freshman class, with the likes of Duke’s Harry Giles, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and so on, it was easy to overlook the Indianapolis native. But, he appears to have officially raised eyebrows among college basketball fanatics.

Through 11 games off the bench, Guy accumulates 9.4 points per game, shooting a 56.5 percent clip overall. Plus, he has now racked up three-straight affairs with at least 13 points.

Due to primarily focusing on a strong-willed defensive effort, yielding only 47.2 points per contest (No. 1 in the nation), the Cavaliers fail to boast a player that averages more than 10 points per game. Senior guard London Perrantes, who notched 14 points against Cal, claims that total.

Thus, Guy’s production is actually admirable. If he continues to score in bunches, the youngster should provide a welcomed boost versus the tougher competition in the ACC. Virginia won’t need to wait long to display him on the big stage, as it’ll matchup with No. 10/11 Louisville next Wednesday evening.

About Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a graduate of DePaul University. Along with writing, he also works at 670 The Score, a sports radio station in Chicago.

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