Duke basketball star has 'best moments of life' after heroics against Baylor

Duke basketball freshman Jared McCain finally broke through against a major opponent and he was soaking up every moment of his performance.
Garden Classic - Duke v Baylor
Garden Classic - Duke v Baylor / Lance King/GettyImages

Jared McCain was the highest ranked recruit to commit the Duke basketball program last year and he had yet to make a significant impact on the team during his first 10 games.

That changed on Wednesday night in the biggest way possible.

On the biggest stage basketball has to offer, Madison Square Garden, the California kid that loves to dance on social media turned in a performance for the ages that aided No. 21 Duke's (8-3) comeback victory over No. 10 Baylor (9-2), 78-70.

McCain went for a team-high 21 points, which tied a career high, on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range.

"The moment I hit the corner three, it was so loud," McCain told Andy Katz of NCAA March Madness. "It was one of the best moments of my life."

Two of McCain's three triples came in the second half and the first one after halftime -- with 10:18 remaining -- brought the Blue Devils within one, 54-53, in the midst of a 9-0 run.

His final 3-pointer of the night, which he referenced to Katz, put the game out of reach, 68-61, off an assist from Ryan Young with 4:08 left.

“There's really no words to describe it," McCain continued in the post game press conference. "This is just a surreal moment."

It proved that Jared McCain can have big games against better competition that mid-major opponents after struggling mightily against Arizona, Michigan State, Arkansas, and Georgia Tech. McCain averaged 5.0 points per game on 23.3-percent shooting (7-for-30).

His previous two games against Charlotte and Hofstra looked like he turned a corner, averaging 17.0 points in those contest and making 6-of-11 3-pointers but his game against Baylor would prove if it was legitimate.

It was in a big way.

McCain is now shooting 44.9-percent from 3-point range on the season -- 52.9-percent over his last three games -- but will be challenged to maintain is level of play when point guard Tyrese Proctor (ankle) returns within the next week for the Blue Devils.

There have been more shots available to the rookie during the sophomore's absence and Jon Scheyer has to construct an offensive game plan that keeps Jared McCain -- and his shooting -- at the forefront when Duke enters ACC play on January 2 against Syracuse.

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