Have a night, Devan Cambridge. The freshman finished with career highs of 26 points, 5 rebounds and 21 minutes in Auburn’s 80-67 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday night.
In the first half, No. 35 for the Tigers scored 35% of their points, finishing the half with 14 points and 3 rebounds. He didn’t stop there.
Auburn started the night cold from three, beginning the game 0-6 before the freshman knocked one down. The trend continued for Cambridge, knocking down his next three shots from beyond the arc. He also threw down a dunk in between shots, later saying “That was nothing. I can do better.” The dunk energized the Auburn crowd of 8,430 and got the momentum rolling for the Tigers.
Thanks to Cambridge, Bruce Pearl’s squad saw significant improvement from the last two games in three point shooting. In both the Alabama and Florida games, the Tigers shot a combined 11-51 from downtown, sitting at 21%. Wednesday night, Auburn shot 37% from beyond the arc. Cambridge was responsible for six of the 10 threes, which proved to be the dagger for the Gamecocks.
“Give that young man credit,” South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said. “We said he was a capable three point shooter...and he put [shots] down. Because of that, it got away from us.”
The 6 foot 6 inch freshman from Nashville played no doubt his best game in the orange and blue, possibly previewing what is to come in his Auburn career. Pearl knows this more than anyone, and has said that “Someday [Cambridge] can be our best player.” His ability to get open looks on Wednesday helped propel Auburn to its 18th consecutive home win, a streak that dates back to Feb. 20, 2019.
“Rather than always getting to the rim, we focus really hard on trying to make the extra pass. As a result, the 17 assists. That’s why [Cambridge] was recipient,” Pearl said. “That was a big focus of trying to break out offensively. We’ll see if we can keep building on it.”
Three point shooting was not the only category on the stat sheet that showed improvement for Auburn since the two road losses. Free throw percentage also saw improvement. Over the two game road trip, Auburn shot 68% on free throws. Wednesday, the team shot 85%. Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy led the team in makes, both going 4-for-4 from the line. In total, the team went 18-for-21 from the charity stripe, it’s second-best game in free throw percentage on the season.
Auburn looks to build on its momentum from the victory, when it hosts Iowa State as part of the Big 12/SEC challenge on Saturday. That game will tip off at 11:00 a.m. CST and will be broadcast on ESPNU.