T.J. Warren scored a game-high 25 points as N.C. State topped Xavier 74-59 in a play-in game to face St. Louis. The sophomore forward is NetScouts Basketball’s NCAA Tournament Player of the Day for games on Tuesday, March 18th.
The 6-foot-8 forward scored his 25 points on an efficient 10-of-18 shooting and a 5-of-8 display from the free throw line. He also chipped in four rebounds, four blocks, three steals, and two assists to lead the Wolfpack.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Warren told the Associated Press. “My shots wouldn’t fall in the first half, but my teammates did a great job of finding me.”
Warren had to work for every point on Tuesday as Xavier denied him and doubled him off of ball screens. When he caught the ball, however, he did a good job getting into the lane and finishing with a mid-range jumper or an extremely efficient floater. Warren’s surprisingly quick for his size and has an array of moves to attack the rim.
He struggles shooting the three, as his 0-of-2 showing from behind the arc was a testament to his 28 percent three point shooting percentage. If he adds a deep jumper, it would become nearly impossible to stop him. At this point he’s likely a late first round pick.
Warren will need to continue carrying N.C. State throughout the tournament. He’s averaging 30.2 points per contest over his last five games and will look to continue the hot streak.
Other Tuesday Notes:
–Tyler Lewis was exceptional running the point for N.C. State. He only scored seven points, but dished eight assists and committed only one turnover in 32 minutes. If the sophomore has a similar performance against St. Louis, the Wolfpack have a chance of pulling the upset.
-Xavier sophomore guard Semaj Christon, another possible draft selection, scored 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He was aggressive when attacking the rim, but sometimes overly aggressive which resulted in turnovers or tough, contested shots. He had four assists compared to seven turnovers.
–Matt Stainbrook was a pleasant surprise for Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-10 junior center was 9-of-15 from the field and had some nice post moves to get his shot off. He can struggle because of his lack of athleticism and stamina.
-Senior point guard D.J. Evans had a game-high 22 points along with nine rebounds and three assists for Albany to lead the Great Danes to a 71-64 win over Mount St. Mary’s. Will Miller had 21 points while shooting 7-of-12 from three in a losing effort.
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