LOUISVILLE — Kyle Guy emerged from the locker room by himself well before tip-off of top-seeded Virginia’s South Region final Saturday night. The junior guard paused at the basketball rack at midcourt before turning back to the bench and walking to a seat by the scorer’s table.

There he sat for several minutes, alone with his thoughts in a nearly empty KFC Yum! Center.

"I was thinking about my past, my future, my present, just trying to soak up everything,” Guy said. “Trying to get every ounce of inspiration, motivation I needed. Trying to remember everybody who ever doubted me and this team and this coaching staff, especially this coaching staff.

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"Just trying to shut them up, basically.”

The time for contemplation served Guy well after an unsightly shooting stretch over the first three games of the NCAA tournament.

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The Cavaliers’ top three-point shooter reclaimed his deadeye stroke in the second half against No. 3 Purdue, and his team-high 25 points helped spark Virginia to its first Final Four since 1984 courtesy of an 80-75 triumph in overtime.

Guy made four consecutive three-pointers early in the second half, shaking off a sore right ankle. He stepped on another player’s foot in the closing minutes before halftime.

“I heard a pop,” said Guy, who screamed as he tumbled to the court. “That’s kind of most why I was rolling around like I was because I was really scared, but I thought what was best for me was to get up and let everybody know I was fine.”

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His first three-pointer came 26 seconds after halftime to give Virginia (33-3) its first lead at 32-30. The Cavaliers grew the lead to 53-46 on another Guy three-pointer, but Carsen Edwards continued to put on a show for the Boilermakers.

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Purdue’s junior guard scored 42 points and made 10 of 19 from beyond the arc. The South Region’s most outstanding player scored more points by himself than William & Mary did as a team in a 72-40 loss to the Cavaliers on Dec. 22.

“I told him after the game that I had a lot of respect for him and that he’s a bad dude,” Guy said of Edwards. “And he has nothing to hang his head on. Again, performance for the ages by him and by both teams, so yeah, I never witnessed anything like that.”

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No one was prepared for happened at the end of the second half.

After Guy missed a three-pointer with 43 seconds to play and Virginia trailing 69-67, Purdue’s Ryan Cline made 1 of 2 free throws with 16.9 seconds to play. Eleven seconds later, Virginia’s Ty Jerome drew a foul and made the first of two free throws.

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The junior guard missed the second, and the Cavaliers’ Mamadi Diakite tipped the ball back past midcourt, where Kihei Clark gained control. The freshman guard delivered a pass back to Diakite, who sank an eight-footer as the buzzer sounded.

Replays showed the ball left Diakite’s hands with two-tenths of a second on the clock.

The moment harked back to last season, when De’Andre Hunter banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer at KFC Yum! Center to beat Louisville, 67-66.

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“Sometimes the ball bounces our way,” Guy said, “and it was a great effort.”

The Cavaliers managed to reach the region finals for a second time under Coach Tony Bennett despite Guy misfiring at an alarming rate.

Nearly a 44 percent career three-point shooter, Guy went 3 for 28 through the first three games of the NCAA tournament and the first half against the Boilermakers. During one stretch, Guy missed 17 consecutive attempts from beyond the arc.

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Earlier this season, Guy had made a school-record 11 three-pointers in a row over two games.

That touch disappeared in the round of 32 against No. 9 seed Oklahoma. Guy shot 0 for 10 on three-pointers in that game, yet the Cavaliers still won, 63-51.

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He was 2 for 11 from beyond the arc in Thursday’s 53-49 win against No. 12 seed Oregon in the region semifinals.

All the while, Guy insisted he felt comfortable when the ball left his hands.

“I told you guys I don’t really believe in slumps, and I always found rhythm when my guys are trying to find me,” Guy said. “Ty, Kihei and Dre, they all were looking for me even though I struggled in the past few games. All the credit goes to them.”

Jerome was especially excited for his backcourt mate after his assist on Guy’s second three-pointer that extended Virginia’s lead to 35-30. After Guy’s shot dropped through the net, Jerome raised his arms and encouraged the small Virginia fan contingent to cheer louder.

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Boilermakers supporters made their displeasure of Guy known throughout the game, offering jeers to the Indianapolis native who elected to go to college out of state as opposed to Purdue, which is located roughly 65 miles from where Guy played in high school.

But Cavaliers fans took over the arena to witness Bennett and his players raise the South Region trophy on the stage in the middle of the arena, a dramatic contrast to how last season ended, when they became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16.

“I was definitely flashing back to when I was on my knees last year, and I did it again,” Guy sad. “And that was just, you know, just overflowing with joy. So happy for my teammates and my coaches and for myself to be able to break through in the way that we did this year.”

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