Basketball

Virginia’s Jay Huff enters Ralph Sampson territory by standing tall vs. Duke

Jay Huff was one rebound away from a triple-double on Saturday vs. Duke. The 7-1 junior forward had nine boards to go with 15 points — and 10 blocked shots.

Ralph Sampson is the only other player in Virginia program history to record double-digit rejections in a game. As it turned out, Sampson was sitting courtside in Charlottesville for Huff’s performance, which lifted the Cavs (21-7, 13-5 ACC) to a big 52-50 ACC victory over the No. 7 Blue Devils (23-6, 13-5).

Huff’s 10th block was the most important. It denied a potential go-ahead bucket by Vernon Carey in the closing seconds.

Huff was fouled on the rebound and made one of two free throws to give the 2019 NCAA Tournament champions a two-point lead. He then watched a Blue Devils’ heave clang off the rim at the buzzer.

“(Huff) was fired up,” UVA coach Tony Bennett told reporters postgame . “His length is for real. It was a complete game for Jay.”

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It was also redemption for the Durham, N.C., product, who was on the business end of a nasty dunk by the Blue Devils’ Zion Williamson last season. That play made the rounds on Twitter as Huff was dominating in the paint. ( WARNING: Salty, NSFW language ahead.)

On Saturday, Huff was throwing it down on Williamson’s successors 

Huff finished two blocks behind Sampson’s school record, but he’ll gladly take the payback and the win.

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