And one: McCain's big night highlights strong win for Duke men's basketball against Florida State

Freshman guard Jared McCain drives to the basket in Duke's game against Clemson.
Freshman guard Jared McCain drives to the basket in Duke's game against Clemson.

Carried by a historic scoring performance from freshman guard Jared McCain, Duke eased to a 76-67 win against Florida State. The Blue Zone analyzes the win with the Player of the Game and more:

One Player: Jared McCain

With sophomore point guard Tyrese Proctor out with a concussion, the weight of his absence fell onto the shoulders of guards Jeremy Roach, Caleb Foster and, most importantly, Jared McCain. The Sacramento, Calif., native answered the call with an astonishing 35 points – tying the Duke record for the most points in a game by a freshman – and led the Blue Devils to a 76-67 win against Florida State. McCain carved up a chippy and physical Seminole defense, as he put on a shooting clinic throughout the entirety of the game. Starting hot with 25 points in the first half, the freshman bombarded Florida State with eight 3-pointers — another Duke freshman single-game record. Whether it was off the dribble or off the catch, McCain could not miss, as he started the contest 6-for-6 from behind the arc and finished 8-for-11 from 3-point land. 

Fueled by a hostile crowd and chippy play from senior Seminole guard Darin Green Jr., the 6-foot-3 guard made it his personal mission to silence the opposing crowd. As bucket after bucket fell, McCain grew more and more confident, making the scoring outburst look effortless. McCain took what the defense gave him, at times driving to the basket with aggression, and even silencing the crowd with a painted fingernail. Seemingly unbothered by his record-breaking night, the freshman did not take any forced looks, instead opting to let shots fly with zero hesitation. With ACC table stakes on the line, and down a star player in Proctor, No. 0 stepped up in a huge way and made sure Florida State fans were sent home with his name in mind. 

One Word: Confidence

After a solid three-game home stretch, the Blue Devils marched into the Donald Tucker Civic Center on a high note, and left in the same tune as they arrived. Riding McCain’s record-setting performance, Duke looked calm and collected as it controlled the game for the entirety of the contest. The Blue Devils carried themselves like a team that deserved and earned a victory, and the scoreboard reflected their mindset. Even as the physicality of the game increased down the stretch, the Durham squad met the challenge with an even temper and determination to secure its spot near the top of the ACC. With McCain providing the offensive firepower, the rest of the team rode his swagger and looked strong throughout the entirety of a dominant victory.

One Stat: 8-for-11

What better way to encapsulate this game than to note one of the records from McCain’s breakout performance. While it was not a flawless outing from Duke – it racked up 17 turnovers as ball security continues to be an issue – McCain confidently put his stamp on the game, and quickly made his presence known. As if he were in a cape and mask, the young Blue Devil became the victorious villain to the Seminoles’ efforts, and let them hear it while doing it.

After draining six-straight threes to start the game, the Florida State crowd did their best to affect the California kid, making their presence known every time he touched the ball. But unfortunately for the home crowd, McCain was unfazed, rattling off two more buckets from behind the line and using his shooting to create driving lanes to cut to the basket with ease. It was a performance worth watching, as the guard looked of the highest caliber and will now forever be remembered in the Duke history books.

Even without the scoring record, it was a stellar performance on the other end for the young star, as he also recorded three steals, confidently jumping passing lanes and using the momentum to generate scoring opportunities. It seemed as if nothing could go wrong, and quite honestly, the sentiment held true for the majority of the night for McCain and the Blue Devils.


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