Warren to return, but NC State still needs Turner, Lee

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 25, 2014 

  • Georgia Tech at N.C. State

    When: 1 p.m.

    Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh

    TV/Radio: WBTV (Charlotte), WRAL (Raleigh), 101.5-WRAL

    Projected starting lineups

    Georgia Tech (11-8, 2-4 ACC)

    G Trae Golden 14.1 ppg, 3.3 apg

    G Corey Heyward 0.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg

    F Marcus Georges-Hunt 11.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg

    F Kam Holsey 7.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg

    F Daniel Miller 10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg

    N.C. State (12-7, 2-4)

    G Cat Barber 11.4 ppg, 4.2 apg

    G Desmond Lee 10.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg

    F T.J. Warren 22.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg

    F Kyle Washington 4.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg

    F Jordan Vandenberg 5.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg

    Player to watch

    Ralston Turner, guard, N.C. State

    The junior guard poured in 23 points in the Wolfpack’s win over Maryland on Monday. With sophomore T.J. Warren expected to be back in the lineup after missing the Maryland game with an ankle injury, it will be interesting to see how big of a role Turner will have.


    Georgia Tech made 14 of its first 16 shots in Tuesday’s 68-60 road win at Boston College. The Yellow Jackets cooled off in the second half, missing 13 of its first 17 shots after it had built a 42-27 halftime advantage. ... N.C. State has won three in a row against Georgia Tech and swept the season series last year. This is the only scheduled meeting this season.

    Joe Giglio

— Guards Ralston Turner and Desmond Lee were productive for N.C. State in the Wolfpack’s win over Maryland on Monday.

That was without leading scorer T.J. Warren in the lineup. With Warren expected to play against Georgia Tech on Sunday, Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried hopes Turner and Lee will remain aggressive.

“We need all three of those guys to offensively be really aggressive and play well,” Gottfried said.

Balanced scoring was a hallmark of Gottfried’s first two N.C. State teams, but the Pack has mainly relied on Warren, who leads the ACC in scoring, this season. In some games, N.C. State has relied too much on Warren, who averages 22.2 points per game.

In Monday’s 65-56 win over Maryland, Turner scored 23 points while Lee added 14 and freshman guard Cat Barber had 13 points and four assists.

In N.C. State’s other ACC win, 77-70 at Notre Dame on Jan. 7, the Pack had four players score in double figures. In ACC losses to Virginia and Pittsburgh, the Pack had only two players in double figures and only Warren in the 95-60 loss at Duke.

“He’s a great player and we just have to learn how to give him some help,” Turner said of Warren.

N.C. State didn’t have Warren against Maryland. The sophomore forward turned his left ankle in the second half of the Duke loss.

Warren sprained his ankle on a drive to the basket with 14:39 left in the second half. He was fouled on the play by Duke guard Tyler Thornton but played the rest of the game.

The subsequent swelling kept Warren sidelined for the Maryland game, but he returned to practice during the week. Gottfried said Warren has looked good in practice and the time off has helped him.

“I’m not certain he’s 100 percent, he’s certainly a lot better than he was the other day,” Gottfried said. “I think he’s going to play himself through it.”

With Warren back in the lineup, Turner goes back to the bench and will be used to spell Warren or Lee on the perimeter. Gottfried has used all three together only when forward Jordan Vandenberg was hurt and Warren was playing in the high post.

Even as a reserve, Turner has been able to produce in ACC play. He averaged 11 points in the first four ACC games before he was held to four points by Duke.

Lee had been struggling before the Maryland win. He had six points at Wake Forest and five at Duke. He was 8 of 28 from the floor in ACC play before the Maryland game. He was 3 of 8 against the Terps but his scoring total was helped by a 8 of 11 performance from the foul line.

After N.C. State fell behind by 11 points in the second half of Monday’s win over Maryland, it was Turner and Lee who led the comeback.

Turner had 19 of his 23 points in the second half and all five of his 3-pointers. Turner has been State’s only reliable shooter from outside this season. He has 37 3-pointers this season, the rest of the team has 40.

With Warren back, Turner probably won’t score as much as he did against Maryland but Gottfried said it’s important that they figure out a way for Warren, Turner and Lee to all be productive.

“We’re better if none of the three of them take a back seat to the other,” Gottfried said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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