Warren caps regular season with 42 points

Mar. 10, 2014 @ 01:51 PM

Sophomore T.J. Warren put a cap on a remarkable finish to the regular season, and perhaps his home career at N.C. State, Sunday evening in a 78-68 win over Boston College.

The 6-foot-8 sophomore poured in a career-high 42 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and even dished out two pivotal assists in the final minutes. The Wolfpack needed all of his production, having blown a 14-point second-half lead by yielding 15 consecutive points to the eight-win visitors.

“I wanted to try and step up and lead the team,” Warren said of responding to BC’s comeback.

“T.J. was marvelous,” said N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried. “What you’re watching is something you don’t see very often.”

Warren set his career high for the third time in the last four outings. His last five games, three of which were wins, have included 42, 41, 38, 36 and 31 points, beginning with a game at Virginia Tech on Feb. 22 when the Wolfpack (19-12, 9-9 ACC) was a more serious contender for an NCAA at-large bid.

“I’m aware of it,” Warren said of the prodution, “but we’re playing team basketball. Everybody is contributing.”

Warren has averaged 34 points in the five games, accounting for 45 percent of the Wolfpack’s points, 48 percent of its made field goals and 38 percent of the team’s shots.

In scoring 83 points in consecutive games against Pittsburgh and the Eagles, he became the first N.C. State player since David Thompson (41, 57) to score more than 40 in back-to-back games. He made 30 of 45 shots from the floor in the two games.

Desmond Lee came off the bench to score 11 points, getting assists from Warren to drain a 3-pointer for a 66-60 lead late and flushing a dunk in the final minute for a 10-point cushion.

Lee’s seven shots were second-highest on the team.

“T.J. is doing his thing,” Lee said. “It is what it is. Everybody is sacrificing so T.J. can do his thing.

“Everybody brings something different to the table. Almost everybody on the team probably came from somewhere that they averaged 20 a game. We’ve got to milk him until we can’t milk him anymore.”

Sophomore Olivier Hanlan drained 29 points and Ryan Anderson added 15 for Boston College (8-23, 4-14 ACC), which has won twice in six weeks.

The ACC’s final regular-season meeting wrapped up positions for the tournament that begins Wednesday in Greensboro. The Wolfpack has the seventh seed and plays Thursday night at 7 opposite Wednesday’s winner of the Miami-Virginia Tech game. The Eagles, seeded 14th, play Wednesday at 7 against 11th-seeded Georgia Tech, with the winner advancing to face sixth-seeded Clemson in Thursday’s late game.

“We’re the near-miss label,” Gottfied said. “We’ve been close. In reality, we’re not there.

“We’re resilient, we’re learning and we’ve taken some good steps.”

All based on the performance of a player who may soon be forgoing his days in red and white for the greenbacks of the NBA.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.