RALEIGH — T.J. Warren had just two double-doubles during his freshman season at N.C. State.
But the Durham product is making a habit of them during the exhibition season.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward led all scorers with 26 points and 10 rebounds, pacing five State players in double figures as the Wolfpack whipped Morehouse 87-62 in exhibition basketball Saturday at PNC Arena.
Desmond Lee, a junior transfer from New Mexico J.C., added 13 points for the Wolfpack while junior LSU transfer Ralston Turner and freshman Anthony Cat Barber chipped in 11 each and freshman Kyle Washington, 10.
I think T.J. can score as well as anybody in the country, State coach Mark Gottfried said. He kind of finds ways to score where sometimes its quiet. He doesnt take bad shots. He shoots a terrific percentage.
My challenge for him is to become a complete player, not just a good scorer but a good defensive player. Hes rebounding the ball, and he knows if we play a small lineup hes got to be a key rebounder for us. Hes done that too. Thats my charge for him.
Warren also had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the Wolfpacks other exhibition victory this season, a 96-85 win over UNC Pembroke on Thursday night at Reynolds Coliseum.
Defense is the main priority for us, Warren said. Good defense leads to easy baskets on offense.
I just want to start rebounding first and let the offense come. I dont want to force the issue. My teammates will get me the ball. They trust me, and I trust them.
DAnthony Relaford had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Maroon Tigers, who got 13 points off the bench for Cornez Nesbitt and 12 from Tyrone Brown.
Morehouse, a member of the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, finished 19-8 last season.
The freshmen were major contributors for State as Washington had nine rebounds and Barber six assists.
I think the chemistry is pretty good, Lee said. We all like each other and we hang out off the court and I think it shows on the court.
The freshmen are competing hard every day. We believe in them. Its just a matter of when they figure it out.
State shot 54.4 percent from the floor to 39.1 for Morehouse, also eking out a 38-36 decision on the boards and committing 10 turnovers to the Tigers 14.
Theyve just got to learn, Gottfried said. And how to do things when the pressure is on. Its one thing to practice and another to come out and play in front of a crowd. Ill holler something to some of those young guys, and theyll look at me like Im speaking Chinese, and itll be something weve worked on every day in practice.
The Wolfpack, which never trailed, led 44-27 at halftime behind 14 points from Warren and 11 from Turner. Brown had 8 at the break for the Maroon Tigers.
State shot 51.9 percent in the first half to 32.4 for Morehouse, which was winning the rebound battle 22-19 at the break.
The Wolfpack will open regular-season play at home Friday night at 7 against Appalachian State. Morehouse will host Johnson C. Smith at 6 that night in the opening round of the HBCU Tipoff Classic.