COLLEGE PARK, Md, (CBS19 SPORTS) -- A double-digit scoring night from Kyle Guy or Ty Jerome or De'Andre Hunter isn't exactly breaking news, for the Virginia men's basketball team. All three entered Wednesday's game at Maryland averaging double figures this season, and those three were the Cavaliers' top three scorers in UVA's 76-71 win over the Terrapins.
But Jack Salt finishing with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including several second-half dunks as the Wahoos held off Maryland? That performance brought smiles to Salt's teammates following the victory.
"I'm just so happy for him," said Guy, who led the Cavaliers with 18 points on the night. "We were joking about how his career high is only 10, and he hasn't dunked at all this year. He just put us all to bed tonight."
Salt's career numbers at UVA (the fifth-year senior center entered the season averaging 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 90 career games) won't make anyone forget about Ralph Sampson. But his value to Tony Bennett's team could never be measured by a box score. It stemmed from the physicality and toughness Salt brings to the Cavaliers, whether in the screens he sets on the offensive end, or his awareness and presence defensively.
Prior to Wednesday night, Salt's career high was 10 points, set against Robert Morris as a sophomore and matched last season against Savannah State. Salt also matched his season high with seven rebounds against the Terrapins on Wednesday.
"I mean, it was awesome. I don't really do it that often. So to get a few easy ones," Salt said afterward. "Dre was getting doubled, so he was having to shoot tough shots, and I was just following on the glass and it was wide-open dunks. It wasn't anything too impressive, but I'm glad I could get a few."
"Not only does it help our team so much, but we're all just so happy for Jack," said Jerome, who finished with 17 points. "He works so hard. He does all the dirty work, every single game, every single day in practice. So when he gets some put-back dunks it's big-time."