NC State hangs on to beat Florida State behind Warren, Lee

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 29, 2014 

— T.J. Warren carried N.C. State for more than 30 minutes against Florida State on Wednesday night.

Desmond Lee did the rest. Lee had five of N.C. State’s final seven points in a 74-70 win over the Seminoles.

It’s the third straight ACC win for N.C. State, which evened its conference record at 4-4.

Just like Sunday’s win over Georgia Tech, the Pack got a big effort from Warren, who finished with 30 points, and a key late bucket from Lee.

Lee outback a missed 3-pointer by Ralston Turner with 12.1 seconds left to put away the Seminoles (13-7, 4-4 ACC), who lost their second straight game in the Triangle.

Warren had 30 points when he picked up his fourth foul with 6:58 left in the second half.

With both Warren and Turner on the bench with four fouls, the Wolfpack got a surge from Lee and senior forward Jordan Vandenberg.

Lee’s three-point play at 4:31 gave the Pack a 68-67 lead. After a baseline jumper by Kyle Washington, Vandenberg flushed home an assist from Cat Barber for a 72-67 lead at 3:18.

Warren was able to get back in the game for 29 seconds before fouling out with 1:36 to play. FSU forward Okaro White made one of two free throws to cut the Pack’s lead to 72-69.

A foul by guard Tyler Lewis with 47.2 seconds left put White back on the line and again he made only one.

FSU was just 15 of 26 from the foul line, compared to 8 of 11 for the Wolfpack.

Warren’s known for his scoring, but not necessarily his outward, emotional displays. Montay Brandon triggered something in Warren, who after a dunk at 10:06 in the second half, confronted Brandon with a little trash talk.

Warren completed the three-point play, after the Brandon foul. It was Warren’s last basket of the night after a torrid start.

Florida State has been the surprise team in the ACC thus far this season. The Noles lost their best player (Michael Snaer), lost out on the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes and lost their best recruit, Xavier Rathan-Mayes to an academic issue.

Yet, Leonard Hamilton’s team found a way to beat Virginia Commonwealth and UMass outside the ACC and start 4-2 in the league before consecutive losses to Duke and N.C. State.

A year after scoring 31 against Florida State in the same building, Warren had 20 in the first half on Wednesday. The sophomore forward dropped in a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in the first half for a 39-33 Wolfpack lead.

Warren scored a lot of different ways in the first half and made 9 of 15 field goals. He picked up some loose garbage around the basket, made two 3s and hit a couple of his patented 6-foot floaters.

FSU, a predominantly man-to-man team, went to a zone about midway through the first half to slow down Warren.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried responded by going with a smaller lineup, a variation of the one that worked so well in Sunday’s win over Georgia Tech.

The Pack had guards Barber, Lee, Turner and forward Lennard Freeman on the floor together for a 5-minute stretch and then bought in Lewis for Lee.

With Washington and Vandenberg both on the bench with two fouls and freshman BeeJay Anya leaving the floor at 13:42 with a knee injury, Gottfried didn’t have a lot of options.

Before he picked up his second foul at 5:02, Washington was big in the paint with his defense. He blocked a pair of shots on consecutive possessions to spring N.C. State for four of its 12 fast-break points in the first half.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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