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Cam Reddish breaks out with career-best first half against Stetson for Duke men's basketball

<p>Cam Reddish turned in another strong performance with 23 points off 4 for 9 shooting from three.</p>

Cam Reddish turned in another strong performance with 23 points off 4 for 9 shooting from three.

In Duke’s 113-49 win over Stetson, there were almost too many highlights to count. 

Tre Jones played impeccable defense and did not commit a turnover for the second straight game. Justin Robinson scored a career-high 13 points, including three conversions from beyond the arc. Even senior Brennan Besser scored his first career points in a Blue Devil uniform. 

But one headline that should not be lost is that coming off a weak outing against Indiana, Cam Reddish is back. The 6-foot-8 freshman, who rounds out the stellar four-freshman Duke core, scored 23 points and grabbed four rebounds. He converted four 3-pointers, the only triples that the Blue Devils converted the entire first half, and led the way with 18 of his points before the break. 

“I’ve been struggling a lot lately, so to hit those threes felt good. Even from the free-throw line I was struggling,” Reddish said. “Getting there and getting my free throws felt great. It helped my confidence a lot for me to kind of get back to who I am...I’m feeling pretty good right now.” 

Even before Reddish played his first game for Duke, he struggled with injuries. He was sidelined during the Blue Devils’ exhibition trip to Canada with a groin injury and played through a fractured rib to start the season. Reddish also sat out the second half of Duke's game against Eastern Michigan Nov. 14 with another groin issue.

Reddish is a key piece of the Blue Devil offense and is second on the team in 3-point percentage, shooting 43.3 percent behind Alex O’Connell’s 45.0 percent clip. He averages 16.3 points per game, behind only fellow classmates R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson. For a team that has struggled to shore up consistent shooters, Reddish's ability to effortlessly knock down 3-pointers sets him apart as one of Duke's only consistent floor-spacers.

"Coach just made us defend and push the ball," Reddish said. "We did just what he said and it worked out for our benefit. Everyone was playing and working together, and it was really fun. Our communication has improved a ton since Gonzaga. We’re talking, we’re switching—everything Coach wants us to do, we’re doing."

Coming out of high school, Reddish was the third-ranked recruit nationally. He was a McDonald’s all-American and committed to Duke last September. However, the freshman wing's tendency for non-flashy plays left him dwarfed in the limelight behind the likes of Williamson and Barrett. But Reddish's smooth play and steady performance should not be overlooked.

Reddish showed his playmaking ability against the Hatters. He made smart decisions and increased defensive intensity for the Blue Devils. The Norristown, Pa., native was integral in creating key Duke possessions by generating Stetson turnovers, notching two steals on the evening. 

As Duke inches closer to ACC play, the Blue Devils will need to see strong performances from all of their freshmen. Reddish’s play Saturday sends a strong signal that he is capable of being a major part of Duke’s success this season. He will have another chance to maintain his groove Wednesday when the Blue Devils take on Hartford.

"I’m looking to improve my defense and my communication," Reddish said. "Make sure I’m energetic defending and talking. Once I get that down, I’ll get better and the team will get better. So that’s the goal. I’m just going to continue to work on that."


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