From heartbreak against UMBC in Charlotte to a road to redemption that ended with an overtime victory in Minneapolis, the 2019 University of Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball team became eternal Friday night with John Paul Jones Arena filled to the brim.
Stars from last year’s team — including Kyle Guy, De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome — returned to Charlottesville to watch their 2019 national championship banner get lifted into the rafters. Fans of the ‘Hoos joined coach Tony Bennett and the players in JPJ for “The Night with the National Champions."
The banner is raised! pic.twitter.com/qkoSOuQc1n— John Paul Jones Arena 👻 (@JPJArena) September 14, 2019
The Cavaliers stormed through the 2019 NCAA tournament and beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Minneapolis in the final. Hunter, Guy and Jerome combined for 57 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in the 85-77 overtime victory. All three of those players were drafted into the NBA last summer and played a key role in bringing Virginia its first-ever men’s basketball championship.
"I've been thinking about it a lot, because of how much people are talking about it on social media and through the grapevine,” Guy said of raising the banner prior to the event. “I’m super-amped to be able to hoist the banner and get our rings, and I'm glad that a lot of us can come back. I think it's going to be a good last time to actually live in that moment, because after that it's pretty much back to reality."
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Virginia will open its 2019-20 slate, and its title defense, on the road on Nov. 6 at Syracuse in an ACC clash. The ‘Hoos return home on Nov. 10, hosting James Madison.