NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Cam Biedscheid ran down the court after nailing a second-half three-pointer, marked one of his Kentucky contemporaries, then belted out a grown-man bellow.
Official Les Jones sprinted alongside the Notre Dame freshman with a warning.
“He was just like chill out on the jawing and stuff,” Biedscheid said. “He didn’t want to have to T me up.”
For all the freshman star power at the Purcell Pavilion on Thursday night, it was Biedscheid who shined brightest in Notre Dame’s 64-50 victory over No. 8 Kentucky. Biedscheid finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting to go with three rebounds.
In his first primetime test, last year’s No. 28-ranked recruit aced it. In fact, he out-scored every former AAU rival on the Kentucky roster, aside from the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, Nerlens Noel (10 points). Five-star forward Alex Poythress finished with just three points and four fouls. Five-star guard Archie Goodwin shot 1-of-7 with three points.
“Awesome and not surprised at all man,” said head coach Mike Brey. “He’s a bright lights guy. I just feel good about him coming off the bench and scoring. He feels he belongs. And what’s more important, the veteran guys feel, ‘Come on here, we need him.’”
In Biedscheid’s last three games he’s 9-of-14 from three-point range after starting the season 2-of-17 from distance. The freshman has firmly established himself as Notre Dame’s best scoring option off the bench.
“All the games we’ve had, I’ve really been getting shots up, but earlier games I wasn’t really making them,” Biedscheid said. “I was off. Then I had a game where my three and my mid-range shot really fell for me. I’m rolling.”
Notre Dame needs to keep the freshman focused moving forward with five non-conference games remaining, although only Purdue in Indianapolis on Dec. 15 figures to be a test. Big East play opens on Jan. 5 against Seton Hall.
Even if Biedscheid slips out of his current form, the Irish will give the freshman enough shots to shoot himself back into a groove.
“It doesn’t really surprise me what he’s doing right now because he’s been a big-time scorer in high school,” said Eric Atkins. “He kills us in practice every day. Him coming out here and knocking down shots and taking good shots is really big for us. We have to keep getting him going. That’s a huge boost for us him coming off the bench.”
After the game with the student body crushing the court, Biedscheid grabbed a hug from cornerback Bennett Jackson from the football team’s rooting contingent. He slapped a few high-fives with fans. His father flew out from California for the game. Four other family members drove to South Bend from Missouri.
Overall, it was a huge moment for a freshman used to the talent on the Kentucky roster. He’d already played against it, already beaten it. Biedscheid hoped to catch up with a few Wildcats after the game. He counted Noel and Goodwin as friends, along with four-star forward Willie Cauley-Stein.
“I was really hyped,” Biedscheid said. “I knew a lot of those guys out there on the floor tonight. I played against a lot of them in AAU and battled against them there. It was just even better that they ended up going to Kentucky and we had them on the schedule.”