TJ Warren had a monster night with 31 points and 13 boards, Calvin Leslie added 19 points and 10 boards, State mauled FSU 45-21 on the boards en route to 29 second chance points and State finally blew out an ACC opponent 84-66 to win its third straight and improve to 8-5 in the league, which will keep them in fourth place in the ACC.
Box Score (ESPN)
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NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
NC State’s players happy to easily defeat Florida State, 84-66
N.C. State saved its best, or at least its most complete win, for the ACC champions.
With a decisive rebounding edge and its defense clicking, the Wolfpack throttled Florida State 84-66 on Tuesday night for its first dominant win in league play this season.
“We needed a game like this,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We needed to play well and feel good about how we played.”
With 31 points and 13 rebounds from forward T.J. Warren, both season-best numbers for the freshman, N.C. State won its third straight ACC game and improved to 8-5 in the league.
N.C. State (19-7) has had big wins this season, beating Duke and North Carolina at home, but it hasn’t won big in ACC play. Tuesday was the Wolfpack’s first double-digit win since a 13-point victory against Georgia Tech on Jan.13. Even in that game N.C. State trailed at the half.
“I was telling the guys, we haven’t had a blowout game in awhile,” said junior guard Lorenzo Brown, who had nine assists. “It was about time to get one.”
FSU, the 2012 ACC champ, looked and played nothing like the previous tough, defensive-minded versions under coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles (14-12, 6-7 ACC) were indifferent on defense and absent on the glass.
N.C. State outrebounded FSU 45-21 overall and 21-6 on the offensive glass. Both rebounding numbers were the best this season for the Wolfpack, which had been outrebounded in the past three games and five times in ACC play.
“Coach has stressed to me the importance of rebounding,” 6-foot-8 Warren said.
Luke DeCock (N&O)
NC State’s Warren makes big statement
T.J. Warren has established himself as a freshman of few words, so perhaps his reaction to being inserted into the starting lineup for only the fifth time this season was to be expected: none whatsoever.
“T.J. never has a reaction,” N.C. State teammate Lorenzo Brown said.
With Warren in the starting lineup, but saving his talking for the court, and fellow freshman Tyler Lewis taking an expanded role, the pieces may be starting to fall into place for N.C. State.
Warren scored a career-high 31 points in a comfortable 84-66 win over Florida State that was notable not only for its relative ease – for a team that rarely does anything the easy way – but how it exemplified the continuing refinement of roles for the Wolfpack’s freshmen.
With only 7 1/2 players – Jordan Vandenberg may be twice the size of the average player but he plays half as much – it seems like it probably shouldn’t have been this hard to figure out this rotation. Still, it took the 2 1/2 games Brown missed with an injury, and the resulting opportunity for Lewis, to get a real sense of what works best for N.C. State.
“The people that are playing well on the defensive end and making smart plays on the offensive end are going to get the minutes,” N.C. State forward Scott Wood said. “I think that’s what coach (Mark) Gottfried is looking for.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Easy win a potential momentum builder for Wolfpack
The thing about momentum is that it doesn’t begin from a standing start. Like a tractor trailer chugging up a hill, it rolls out slowly and eventually picks up speed as it goes along.
The same can be said for a college basketball season.
It’s one thing to play well in November and December, and even into January when the conference schedules begins. But those games are only mere preliminaries to help get the ball rolling for the games that really mean something at the end.
With just three weeks left in the regular season, those games are rapidly approaching. And for the first time since its upset of Duke more than a month ago, it finally appears as though N.C. State might just be gaining some momentum for a big finish.
It started with Scott Wood’s saving 3-pointer in the final second at Clemson and continued with a closer-than-it-should-have been overtime win against Virginia. Tuesday, the Wolfpack took another step forward with a convincing 84-66 win against Florida State at PNC Arena.
No, these aren’t the same Seminoles that won the ACC tournament championship last year. Far from it.
But that’s the point.
Unlike most of its recent games, State didn’t play down to the level of its competition. This time it got off to a strong start and kept the hammer down on both ends of the court until the finish – outrebounding FSU 45-21 and getting a career-high 31 points and 13 rebounds from freshman T.J. Warren for its most lopsided ACC victory of the season.
AARON BEARD (AP)
N.C. State Wolfpack beat Florida State Seminoles 84-66
Warren, a 6-foot-8 forward, earned just his fifth start of the season over fellow rookie Rodney Purvis, who had started all but two games this year. Warren finished 12-for-15 from the field and hit two 3-pointers in 31 minutes.
Warren offered a jolt for a team that had played seven games decided by four or fewer points since a 3-0 league start, with the Wolfpack going 3-4 in those games.
“I felt like our team needed something different in there right now,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “I’ve told all three of those freshmen all year long: for our team to be great, all three of you need to play well. Tonight it just happened to be T.J.’s opportunity, and he was very good.”
Warren came in averaging about 11 points and shooting nearly 62 percent from the field with 16 games in double figures. He topped every one of those Tuesday, surpassing his previous highs of 22 points and eight rebounds while also tying for the third-best scoring total by an N.C. State freshman.
“My confidence, it’s always going to stay the same,” Warren said. “It’s something I can’t lose. I just have to go out there and play the game. I’ve been playing the game a long time. … I just wanted to keep it up.”
Warren made it all look easy, whether he was knocking down open jumpers or scoring through contact in traffic. His three-point play with about 90 seconds left helped the Wolfpack blow the game open late and had the home fans chanting his name.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said Warren – who had 20 second-half points – was “a man among boys out there tonight.”
“He’s a scorer and that’s what he does,” senior Scott Wood said. “He puts himself in the right position and the right situations to be successful and put the ball in the basket.”
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack get their groove back
Gottfried’s goal is to have his team playing its best late in the season, and the recent stretch of adversity could serve as a springboard toward March. With a relatively healthy Brown directing the offense, N.C. State (19-7, 8-5 ACC) again looks dangerous, just like it did during a 10-game winning streak that was capped by a victory over previously unbeaten Duke.
“Every team that finds that groove or really begins to play great basketball at the end usually has gone through some adversity somewhere during the year,” Gottfried said this week. “And I think the adversity forces you to evaluate your team a little differently, the players to evaluate roles more specifically, and usually that adversity can help you if it’s handled right.”
If a series of close losses, without or without Brown available, provided reason for panic, N.C. State deserves credit for pulling out tight games at Clemson and in overtime against Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack played with the right mix of focus, energy and urgency Tuesday, taking control with a 20-9 start.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
T.J. Warren: N.C. State’s player of the game vs. Florida State
T.J. Warren replaced classmate Rodney Purvis in the starting lineup and posted a double-double, totaling 31 points with 13 rebounds in N.C. State’s 84-66 win. It was Warren’s fifth career start.
“You could say we’re young and inexperienced, but that’s getting a little old,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “You’ve seen Warren; he’s young and inexperienced, as well.”
Warren shot 12-for-15 from the field, often scoring easily thanks to his eight offensive rebounds. Florida State managed only 21 rebounds as a team.
“Definitely our chemistry is coming together,” Warren said. “Everybody’s playing hard, playing together, playing to win.”
Freshman T.J. Warren, making his third start in NC State’s last six games, had career highs in points and rebounds to lead the Wolfpack to an 84-66 victory over Florida State on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
The freshman legacy player from Durham had 31 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double, topping his previous scoring and rebounding highs of 22 points and eight rebounds set in the Pack’s second game of the season, a 72-55 victory over Penn State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
His 31 points tied the third most ever scored by a Wolfpack freshman, matching the total Scott Wood had in 2010 at Florida State and J.J. Hickson had against William and Mary in 2007. Hickson had 33 in his first game as a freshman against Western Carolina for second-place, and Ernie Myers had a school-record 35 as a freshman against Duke on Jan. 26, 1983.
Warren’s efforts gave the Wolfpack (19-7 overall, 8-5 ACC) a solid home victory over the Seminoles, who came into the contest a full game behind fourth-place State in the ACC standings.
“T.J. really played fantastic tonight,” NC State second-year head coach Mark Gottfried said. “He found ways to get open all night long, in transition and on the boards. It was just a terrific, terrific game for him tonight.”
He was one of three Pack players in double figures, as junior C.J. Leslie added 19 point and 10 rebounds and senior Scott Wood had 13 points.
Wood, with three 3-pointers on the night, became the second player in NC State history, after all-time leading scorer Rodney Monroe, to amass more than 300 career baskets from beyond the arc. He now has 302, which ranks ninth in ACC history.
Junior Lorenzo Brown added nine assists for the Pack.
“I thought everyone played at a high level, and that’s what we need to win games like this,” Gottfried said.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
T.J. Warren Leads NC State To Easy 84-66 Win Over Florida State
Warren had answers for everything tonight, and his hustle on the boards helped the Wolfpack dominate the glass. He finished the night with eight offensive rebounds and five defensive boards. Florida State went like the first 15 minutes of the game without an offensive rebound, which is just nuts. Especially since NC State has kinda made defensive rebounding optional for long periods of time this year.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
T.J. Warren’s 31 points paces Pack to easy win
NC State shook up its starting lineup and the move paid off handsomely Tuesday against Florida State.
Freshman small forward T.J. Warren exploded for 31 points and 13 boards to lead the Wolfpack to an impressive 84-66 win over FSU in front of 17,011 fans at PNC Arena. NC State improved to 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the ACC, and play at North Carolina on Saturday.
Warren tied for the third most points in a game by an NC State freshman, which included teammate Scott Wood’s 31-point effort against the Seminoles in 2010. Warren proved to be able to score in a variety of ways, whether inside or outside.
Warren emphatically made his case to remain in the starting lineup.
“We are still trying to figure things out, but whoever is playing good will stay in the game,” Warren said. “We are just trying to play our roles and help this team win the best way that we can. Our chemistry is coming together.”
The 6-foot-8, 224-pounder from Durham exploded for 20 points in the second half and finished 12 of 15 from the field and he surprisingly made all five free throws.
“When I started to hit my free throws, I just started to notice that I was having a good game and have a feel for it,” said Warren, who entered the contest shooting 51.7 percent from the line. “Things just worked out for me tonight. My teammates did a good job of finding me.”
Warren’s effort coupled with an intense and impressive game by junior power forward C.J. Leslie helped pace the Wolfpack. Leslie finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds . The athletic Leslie had three impressive dunks, but perhaps none better than his follow-up dunk to give the Wolfpack an early 18-9 lead with 10:50 left in the first half.
“That was ridiculous,” NCSU junior point guard Lorenzo Brown said. “I was under there and was just looking and said, ‘Oh my God.’ It was amazing. I think once he does that [play with an edge], nobody can guard him. He’s a beast.”
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCarolinas.com)
Wolfpack still intent on growing
A hot topic on the local radio shows in the Research Triangle the last couple of days centered around North Carolina State and how much it can change between now and Selection Sunday on March 16.
The prevailing belief is that the inconsistent Wolfpack are pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get. They play hard and exceptionally well at times, and otherwise are an indifferent bunch thinking individually more than about the team.
Some observers see them catching lightning in a bottle and rolling to an ACC Tournament title or possibly even the Final Four in Atlanta. The talent is certainly there for such runs.
On the other hand, many of those same observers wouldn’t be shocked to see this team lose a couple of games before the postseason begins and fall early in both tournaments, looking great one day and ordinary the next.
Fair or not, that’s the narrative surrounding this team right now, and there’s an element of truth to it. More than enough evidence abounds to make that case, but there’s also enough to swat it away just enough to crack open the door for further change.
Tuesday night’s home game with hot-and-cold Florida State was an opportunity to climb through that crack and begin the process of finding the groove the team had before point guard Lorenzo Brown’s ankle injury Jan. 29, but with a twist: N.C. State is deeper now than it was before Brown went down, and with the junior playmaker “85 percent” healthy, he said, it should add another layer of its foundation before the postseason begins in three weeks.
“I love it,” Brown said after the Wolfpack took care of FSU, 84-66. “I love how we rotate as a team now. We’re winning. It kind of helps us out; we’re tired most of the time and we’re getting more guys to come in is helping us.
Fialko: NC State shines in win over Florida State
WRAL’s Jared Fialko has the highlights from NC STate’s win over Florida State at PNC Arena Tuesday.
Gottfried: I’m so proud of T.J.
North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried was beaming about the performance of his freshman, T.J. Warren, who netted a career-best 31 points against Florida State.
Leslie: We knew they were going to be physical
North Carolina State’s C.J. Leslie says the Wolfpack was ready for the Seminoles on the inside as they outrebounded FSU by a 45-21 margin.
Wood: we’ll see them again
North Carolina State’s Scott Wood says his team’s offensive and defensive efforts against Florida State were outstanding.
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Talking points: Pack cruise, Heels small ball gets it done
1. No muss, no fuss and no late game drama. NC State’s convincing win over Florida State left little to nitpick, but It also put everyone in a bit of a bind. It’s as if fans and media don’t know what to do when the Wolfpack take care of business for nearly 40 minutes.
Rather than ask why NC State hasn’t done this sort of thing to lesser competition up until now, the real question is whether or not the Wolfpack turned a corner in an effort to build moment for March.
2. T.J. Warren started over Rodney Purvis and wound up being the main talking point of the win thanks to a career high 31 points. The freshman also pulled down a career high 13 rebounds.
3. There’s a natural tendency to focus on the points and key 3-pointers from Warren, but his work on the boards shouldn’t be overlooked. NC State has relied heavily on Richard Howell to be their rebounding machine, but he can’t be the only guy.
After allowing Virginia Tech to pull down 21 offensive rebounds in their overtime win on Saturday, NC State tightened up their work in the paint and grabbed 80% of Florida State’s missed shots. The Wolfpack also did a great job recovering their own misses, out-rebounding the Seminoles 20-to-6 on the offensive glass.
4. The enigma of Calvin Leslie: Moments of head-scratching play followed by games where he makes it look so easy. His jam session against Florida State should be all over YouTube by now.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Upon further review, Virginia Tech missed FT play was illegal
According to Rule 9g in the official NCAA rule book, under the heading of Violations and Penalties: Free Throw, “Players not in a legal marked lane space shall remain behind the free- throw line extended and behind the three-point field-goal line until the ball strikes the ring, flange or backboard, or until the free throw ends.”
Replays clearly show Eddie swooping from the top of the circle to the right side of the lane well before teammate Erick Green’s intentional miss hit the rim.
“I think the rule is in place for the very reason that if a player starts at the top of the key, you really don’t have any opportunity to block him out,” Gottfried said. “The best you can be is standing beside him.
“So I think that’s why the rule is what it is. Again, it happened. You move on and roll on with it.”
Gottfried said he didn’t plan to contact the ACC office about the missed call, which would likely have allowed the Wolfpack to win in regulation, acknowledging that the folks in Greensboro were likely “already aware of that.”
In fact, the league office is aware of the problem, though according to spokesman Brian Morrison, the league isn’t expected to issue a public statement on the play.
“John Clougherty will handle that internally,” Morrison said of the ACC’s director of officials.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Judge refuses to dismiss ACC lawsuit against Maryland
A judge in Guilford County Monday quashed Maryland’s effort to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the ACC forcing the Terrapins to pay the league’s $52 million exit fee before leaving for the Big Ten.
Maryland state attorney general Douglas F. Gansler introduced a motion last month to dismiss the suit on the grounds that a North Carolina court has no jurisdiction over a public university in his state. He called the ACC’s exit fee “an illegal restraint of trade.”
Guilford County superior court judge John O. Craig III disagreed, according to the Associated Press, saying that sovereign immunity does not exist in contractual claims.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
ACC Power Rankings: Miami stays on top after entertaining weekend
1. Miami (21-3, 12-0)
Last week: 1
My take: Well, with a three game lead with six to go, it looks as if Miami might have this regular season race sewn up. Virginia visits Coral Gables on Tuesday night. After that, there are some not-exactly-daunting games at Wake Forest and at home against Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes must drop one of those to make their trip to Duke on March 2 relevant in the league title picture.
2. Duke (22-3, 9-3)
Last week: 2
My take: Mason Plumlee’s line against Maryland included five fouls, four points and two turnovers in 33 minutes. The last time he was held to single digits in points was when he scored nine at Florida State. He scored 30 against N.C. State in his next game.
With two closer-than-expected wins and a loss in its last three games, it’s easy to get worried about the Blue Devils. But with games at Virginia Tech and at home against Boston College this week, that should be enough to calm some of those nerves.
3. N.C. State (18-7, 7-5)
Last week: 3
My take: Man, I’ll be honest. I don’t know how Wolfpack fans survive. Scott Wood had to hit a last-second 3 to win at Clemson to avoid a four-game losing streak. And then the Wolfpack needed overtime to beat Virginia Tech.
How you N.C. State fans have managed to get through these last few weeks without going through about two packs of smokes a game is beyond me.
4. North Carolina (17-8, 7-5)
Last week: 5
My take: And it just seems fitting that, with the Wolfpack ready to head to Chapel Hill on Saturday, the Tar Heels seem to have figured things out.
Given the roller-coaster seasons of both teams, Saturday might take years off some people’s lives.
7. Florida State (14-11, 6-6)
Last week: 7
My take: It’s pretty odd to see Florida State dead last in the league in rebound margin. That’s very un-Florida State.
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCarolinas.com)
ACC Power Rankings: Miami holds top spot
1. Miami (21-3, 12-0)
An impressive win at Florida State was followed by a predictably sluggish win at Clemson. That 45-43 victory made some question the Canes, which is silly because they won when most teams would have lost. All big-time clubs have games like that, and the Canes prevailed.
2. Duke (22-3, 9-3)
The Blue Devils beat UNC in the renewal of the best rivalry in American sports and then fell at Maryland. In one respect, Duke fans should be concerned that Mason Plumlee was so thoroughly dominated in that game, but on the other hand, had Quinn Cook’s shot been another inch to the left Duke would have won.
3. Virginia (18-7, 8-4)
For a while, it looked like the Cavaliers were going to romp to a win over UNC at the Dean Dome, but the Tar Heels erupted and dispatched Virginia. That said, it wasn’t a bad week, as the Wahoos clobbered Virginia Tech earlier in the week. Joe Harris keeps making a major push for ACC honors.
4. N.C. State (18-7, 7-5)
An overtime win at home over Virginia Tech generally isn’t much to get excited about, but given that the Wolfpack had been losing close games, and this is the second such victory in a row, is a small sign of growth. After dropping three straight, State might be generating some steam.
5. North Carolina (17-8, 7-5)
The new-look Tar Heels are fun, fast and have a higher ceiling than the approach Roy Williams was married to for too long. North Carolina played pretty well in losing at Duke and then impressively put 93 points on defensive-minded Virginia in a victory. Smaller is better for UNC.
7. Florida State (14-11, 6-6)
Perhaps the biggest problem that will keep the Seminoles out of the NCAA tournament is Michael Snaer’s inconsistency. The senior wing just hasn’t had the kind of season many expected, though he carried FSU past Boston College over the weekend. He must play at that level the rest of the way.
Miami Receives Notice Of Allegations
Miami has finally received its notice of allegations from the NCAA, a long-awaited document accuses the Hurricanes of a “lack of institutional control” within its athletic department.
The allegations arrived on Tuesday. The institutional-control charge is typically one of the most severe the NCAA can bring after an investigation of rules violations. The governing body for college athletics declined comment Tuesday, one day after revealing that it was erasing some elements of its case against Miami because the information was obtained in impermissible ways.
“We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough,” Miami President Donna Shalala said in a statement Tuesday night.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that several former members of Miami coaching staffs are named in the notice of allegations, including Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, who was with the Hurricanes from 2004-11.
Next up: The sanctions phase, where Miami’s penalties will be decided. The Hurricanes have already self-imposed several sanctions, including sitting out two bowl games and a conference football championship game. Shalala said Monday she believes those punishments should be enough.
This saga started in September 2010, when the university told the NCAA that convicted Ponzi scheme architect and former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro made allegations to the school against former players. Shapiro said he interacted mostly with football players and recruits, as well as a significantly smaller number of men’s basketball players.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million fraud scheme.
“Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying,” Shalala wrote. “The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation ‘corroborated’ – an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice”
Miami wants to get through the sanctions portion of the process as quickly as possible. But typically, it takes about three months for a hearing, and then can take several weeks – if not months – more for the penalties to be handed down. The sides coming to a settlement beforehand is another possibility.
Shalala said Miami will work diligently to prepare a response to the allegations within 90 days.
“We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process,” Shalala wrote.