Another Auburn home game, another opportunity for a freshman to showcase what the future might look like for the program.
The last time that Auburn hosted in Auburn Arena, Allen Flanigan finished with a career-high of 12 points and a tenacious effort on defense against Georgia.
On Wednesday, Devan Cambridge flashed what he can do in Auburn’s 80-67 victory over South Carolina. The freshman guard came off the bench for the Tigers and provided an offensive spark, something that was needed in Auburn’s two road losses the week prior.
The Arizona high school product, prior to Wednesday’s game, had seen limited production on the season. In 17 games, he averaged 3.1 points in 10 minutes, and from 3-point range he was 7-of-28 on the season.
Cambridge finished the game with 26 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
The freshman had some highlight-reel dunks on the night, and at times seemed like he couldn’t miss from beyond the arc. Cambridge finished the night shooting 10-of-14 from the field and was 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
Pearl was certainly proud of his freshman guard’s play to this point, but had been expecting a performance like this.
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“Devan certainly was feeling it,” Pearl said. “I have said that someday he could be our best player. I’ve said that. But I talked to him before the game tonight and I was like, ‘What are you waiting for? This team needs you this year. I know what the future could be for you.’"
Cambridge was ranked by 247Sports as a 3-star coming out of high school and was ranked as the No. 8 in Arizona. While before tonight Cambridge might not have felt like he was living up to expectations, Pearl's confidence in his freshman guard has never faltered.
“Because he’s been struggling a little bit even in practice, his confidence believe it or not I think was waning a little,” Pearl said. “None of our confidence, none of the coaches confidence, none of the teammates confidence but it was kind of time for him to step up a little bit. He picked a pretty good time.”
The freshman guard entered with 12:03 left in the first half and Auburn was down 13-7 to the Gamecocks. It didn’t take long for Cambridge to open up the scoring as he went down and hit his first of what became six 3-pointers made on the night.
In that first on-court appearance, Cambridge added in a dunk and another 3-pointer soon after the first went in. That second 3-pointer good enough to give Auburn an 18-17 lead from which it did not look back from, and heading into the half, Cambridge had 14 points in eight minutes.
Auburn Arena for the rest of the night had a Cambridge craze pulsating throughout the Jungle and beyond. Cheers went up every time he checked in to the game and every time another Cambridge basket went in, the cheers got even louder.
Cambridge’s teammates took notice as well and after a Gamecocks timeout, he was mobbed by his teammates as he headed to the bench for a breather.
How did Auburn’s man of the hour feel about his performance against the Gamecocks? Cambridge's answer was brief — but apparent that he loved every minute of it.
“I loved it; I felt like I couldn’t miss especially after I banked that one,” Cambridge said. “I was like, ‘Yeah I’m feeling it.”
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