DAYTON, Ohio – T.J. Warren scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half on Tuesday night, showing why he was the ACC’s player of the year, and N.C State led the majority of the way in a 74-59 victory against Xavier in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four.
N.C. State (22-12) doesn’t have much time to celebrate.
The 12th-seeded Wolfpack headed to Orlando, Fla., for a game Thursday against St. Louis in the Midwest Regional.
Warren, who picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, had the most to do with it. The sensational sophomore made up for a freshman tournament flop on the same floor a year earlier, preventing Xavier (21-14) from gaining any traction in the second half.
Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee.
Warren and N.C. State took all the drama out of it in the last 11 minutes, helping the Wolfpack pull away.
N.C. State has made the NCAA Tournament in each of Mark Gottfried’s first three seasons.
Ralston Turner was the Wolfpack’s only other player in double figures.
He scored 17 points including a 3-for-7 mark from three-point range as the Wolfpack shot 54.7 percent from the field during the game.