After sending the game to overtime with a huge three from De'Andre Hunter, Virginia, who were down three in overtime, continued to fight.
"When they come into my office I got a poster of "Rocky" on the steps", Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. "I said earlier, it's a really special group because we all had the same 'Why?' among other 'whys.' But to share the same one, and to battle everything we battled through, and come out on top, it's a fantastic feeling". The 21-year-old exploded for 22 points in the final 25 minutes of game action, converting seven of his eight shots (including all four of his three-point attempts) to greatly aid in Virginia's run to the national championship.
They fell behind by 10 twice in this game - seemingly too much in a matchup between two legendary defenses that allowed way more than the projected total of 118 points - but just kept coming back.
"That's what he does: he shoots the crap out of the ball", said teammate Ty Jerome, who penetrated to zip a one-handed pass to the far corner to set up one of Guy's second-half 3s. He's also one of the better two-way players. He never really gets get exhausted. "We have a bunch of great players, but when Kyle is making shots, it fuels us on defense".
And Guy certainly was ready to savor the moment when it came.
With Tech leading 68-65 with less than 20 seconds left in regulation, Virginia guard Kyle Guy drove to the basket.
Sidelined for last year's NCAA tournament with a broken wrist suffered in the ACC tournament, Hunter was able to offer only vocal support from the bench during a 74-54 loss to Maryland-Baltimore County in the round of 64, marking the first time a No. 1 seed had lost to a 16. Guy had been open in social media posts in the week that followed about the fallout from that game, from death threats towards the players to openly discussing that he had been taking medication for anxiety attacks.
That loss to UMBC could've wrecked a lesser program. (And yes, he's going to change that photo now). "I just stayed aggressive and the shots started dropping".
By Monday night, Guy and the Cavaliers had the final word. "A lot of emotion in our locker room right now, and it's real, just guys that care about the guy next to them", Beard said.
It's easy to jump the gun in regard to an NBA Draft prospect like Hunter that had a big game in front of a national audience like in this national title tilt, but he did prove something here.
"Now that the season is over, I'll take time with my family and coach and consider my future".