A year after an infamous loss to a No. 16 seed, Virginia is headed to the Final Four after a game college basketball fans may remember just as fondly.
Kyle Guy shook off a tournament-long shooting slump to score 25 points and the Cavaliers survived a marvelous performance by Carsen Edwards to beat Purdue 80-75 in overtime on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional final at the KFC Yum Center.
Virginia (33-3) which became the first-ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed when it was embarrassed by Maryland-Baltimore County last season — put that history behind it and qualified for the Final Four for the first time since 1984.
The Cavaliers will face the Kentucky-Auburn in a national semifinal next Saturday in Minneapolis.
“The way last year ended, I’m sure everybody counted us out,” Virginia guard Kyle Guy, who scored 25 points, said. “We made history last year, and we’re making great history this year.”
Edwards made history of his own, setting the all-time tournament record for three-pointers with 28.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett and his father Dick, who took Wisconsin to the national semifinals in 2000, are the second father-son duo to coach teams that reached the Final Four, joining the Thompsons of Georgetown.
Purdue was hoping for its first Final Four since 1980.
Guy, Virginia’s No. 2 scorer at 14.9 points per game, had made just 8 of 38 shots during the first three games of this NCAA Tournament and was 1 for 6 with just 4 points at halftime Saturday.
But he came alive in the second half, hitting four 3-pointers the help the Cavaliers build a 53-46 lead at the 11:41 mark. He finished 8 of 19 from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range.
Edwards single-handedly carried Purdue (26-10) much of the night, hitting 10 of 19 3-point shots and scoring 42 points. He was named the regional’s MVP.
Edwards banked in a 3-pointer to give Purdue a 69-67 lead with 1:09 left in regulation, and Ryan Cline hit 1 of 2 free throws for a 70-67 advantage with 16.9 seconds left.
Ty Jerome was fouled with 5.9 seconds left, hit the first free throw and missed the second. The Cavaliers corralled the rebound near midcourt, and Mamadi Diakite hit a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime.
Edwards’ basket gave Purdue a 75-74 lead with 41.5 seconds left in overtime, but they were the Boilermakers’ final points. De’Andre Hunter’s basket gave Virginia a 76-75 lead, and Guy’s two free throws made it 78-75 with 5.7 seconds left.
Purdue had a final chance, but Edwards’ pass to Cline along the left sideline went out of bounds with 2.1 seconds left. Virginia’s Kihei Clark hit two free throws to seal it.
Purdue was on fire early, hitting 6 of 8 from 3-point range to take a 22-12 lead on Aaron Wheeler’s trey at the 9:46 mark. But Jerome hit a pair of 3-pointers to help Virginia rally within 30-29 at halftime. The Boilermakers went scoreless over the final 3:43.
Virginia finished with a 39-31 rebounding edge and converted 17 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
Jerome finished with 24 points and seven assists.