Warren stakes claim, NC State beats Boston College 78-68

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMarch 9, 2014 

— T.J. Warren scored 40-plus points again.

The N.C. State sophomore put his name next to David Thompson and Lennie Rosenbluth’s in ACC history in the process.

Warren helped his chances of winning the ACC player of the year award with a career-high 42 points to lead N.C. State to a 78-68 win against Boston College on Sunday.

Warren, who had 41 points in Monday’s win at Pittsburgh, scored 40 points in consecutive ACC games for the first time since Rosenbluth did it for North Carolina in the 1956-57 season. Thompson, in December 1974, was the last N.C. State player to score 40 in consecutive games.

“I guess that’s the statement before the awards come out,” Warren said. “I guess we’ll see what happens.”

The media’s choice for player of the year will be announced Monday. While Warren, who added 13 rebounds in 39 minutes in Sunday’s win, was reluctant to do any lobbying, Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried was more than eager to pick up the slack.

“Come on. I mean, what more does the guy have to do?” Gottfried said. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The partisan Wolfpack crowd at PNC Arena gave their vote, too, chanting Warren’s name with 37.4 seconds left in the Wolfpack’s ninth ACC win. Warren’s heroics lifted N.C. State to its ninth ACC win and to the No. 7 seed in the ACC tournament. The Wolfpack (19-12, 9-9 ACC) will face the winner of the Miami-Virginia Tech game at 7 p.m. on Thursday night in Greensboro.

N.C. State revived its NCAA tournament hopes with a pair of wins to close the regular season. The Wolfpack will have to make a run in Greensboro to get off the bubble and into the 68-team field.

That topic of conversation can wait until Greensboro. All anybody could talk about on Sunday night was Warren. It was the ninth game with at least 30 points for the ACC’s leading scorer and the third time in four games he has topped his own career high.

The soft-spoken sophomore finished 14 of 23 from the field and 14 of 17 from the foul line. The past two games, he has made 30 of 45 field goals and poured in 83 points in a pair of must-win games.

“I’m playing my best basketball right now,” Warren said. “I just want to keep that up. It’s March, so it’s a good time to be playing good.”

Warren out-dueled guard Olivier Hanlan, who had 29 points for Boston College (8-23, 4-14). The Eagles erased a 14-point deficit early in the second half with a 15-0 run. They surged to a 47-46 lead after falling behind 46-32 at 18:15 in the second half.

Warren went 6 minutes between shot attempts as the Wolfpack’s offense faltered but he got to the free-throw line at 12:30 to break the drought and even the score at 47.

Warren scored 16 of State’s next 20 points to give the Wolfpack a 69-60 advantage with 2:17 left.

“(My teammates) just keep finding me and I just try to make plays for them,” Warren said.

He has made more than a few plays this season in leading the ACC in scoring and field-goal percentage while ranking in the top 10 in steals and rebounds.

“Numbers don’t lie,” N.C. State junior guard Desmond Lee said. “We don’t even have to go there. If he don’t get (ACC player of the year), then something’s wrong.”

Warren put up 22 points in the first half to give the Wolfpack a 42-31 halftime lead. Boston College coach Steve Donahue tried three different defenders, and even went zone, but nothing could slow Warren, who scored at least 20 points in 15 ACC games.

Warren paused was when he was asked about the player-of-the-year race in the postgame press conference.

“It would be great to get, but … “ Warren said.

It was the only thing he left unfinished on Sunday.

 

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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