Duke freshman Jared McCain hit 8 3s in the team win

BROOKLYN, NY — Freshman guard Jared McCain knows hot shooting as he helped set the Duke team record for 3-pointers in the men's NCAA Tournament. He is the “reason.”

McCain scored eight from behind the arc in Sunday's 93-55 demolition of James Madison at the Barclays Center. He made his first six 3-point attempts and finished with 30 points, days after coming so close to a breakout performance in Friday's win over Vermont.

Three of McCain's attempts in that match were stopped halfway before rimming. They had the unique freshman grinning on the edge, knowing it was only a matter of time. Two days later it was time for the second round.

“Yeah, I was talking to my family when the footage was going in and out [like Friday night]I know the other night was due to do some more, and [Sunday] That was the night,” McCain said. “Yeah, now when I see some people go in, I laugh at the rim because I know the rim wants to give me some product back, and that's what happened. [Sunday].”

McCain broke the previous Duke record of seven 3-pointers in the NCAA Tournament by Quinn Cook in 2014. And he did it as the final seven-minutes wound down.

Overall, McCain went 8-for-11. Duke was 14-of-28 on 3-pointers as a team and hopes to carry that hot shooting into the Sweet 16.

“It helps when you have a guy like Jared McCain,” coach John Schaer said. “He broke the Duke record in the NCAA Tournament today. We have some good shooters, so to break that record with eight players, he's mad at me for taking him out early. Mad at me. He still wanted to be there. But he has a great way about him. There was, apparently.”

It started from the jump when McCain hit a 3-pointer from the left wing on the opening possession. The Blue Devils (26-8) never trailed.

After McCain missed his sixth 3-pointer, he was clearly in the zone. After that, he offered a Michael Jordan shoulder look. He doesn't even remember.

“I don't know what I did there to be honest with you,” he said. “I think so, and I know very well that's what I hit. Yeah, I don't know what I was doing. I wasn't really conscious out there.”

It's not a completely out-of-the-box performance. McCain, one of the nation's top freshmen, dropped 35 points in a February game against Wake Forest.

He scored 15 in a first-round win over Vermont and knew it could have been more.

“Yeah, the work you put in shows on the court, especially in a big game like this, it's the best feeling in the world when you know you're going to the Sweet 16,” he said. “For these types of games, you have to win and I want to do everything I can to win [Sunday] Whether it's making shots, making 3s, whatever it is, I'm grateful for the opportunity to go to the Sweet 16.”

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Fourth-seeded Duke will play the winner of Houston (1)-Texas A&M (9) in the next round.

McCain's eight 3-pointers are tied for the second-most in a game by a freshman in NCAA Tournament history. That's the most since Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe made eight 3s in 2010.

The hot shooting comes as no surprise to James Madison (32-4). The nobles know what McCain can do.

“We know he's a great shooter,” coach Mark Byington said. “It's no surprise. It was easy to find where he was in half-court action, but when they got rebounds and kickouts, we couldn't find him in transition. We didn't find him.

“He got off to a hot start, he got us behind, and then with how well he played we started to capitalize on our mistakes.”

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