T.J. gets some help
T.J. Warren finally got some help.
Carrying N.C. State with consecutive 40-point games, the ACC’s Player of the Year turned in a modest 24 and Ralston Turner added 22 points as the Wolfpack beat Miami 67-58 Thursday night and moved into today’s quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
“We knew he’d get a lot of attention,” said Turner, a 6-foot-5 junior averaging just 10 points a game. “The main thing for us was to help him out.”
That they did, particularly in the final 90 seconds.
Freshman Anthony Barber created a steal in traffic with a two-point lead and Turner cashed it in with a 3-pointer to begin the Wolfpack’s pullaway.
Seven-foot senior Jordan Vandenberg rebounded a missed free throw by Barber, added one himself for a 60-53 cushion and the Wolfpack stymied Miami’s fleeting threats.
Warren also had eight rebounds, hitting nine of 18 floor shots. Turner, a point shy of his career best, was 7-for-12 from the floor, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Barber’s seven assists and freshman Lennard Freeman’s eight rebounds were also pivotal, as was the Wolfpack’s 60 percent second-half shooting.
Rion Brown led Miami (17-16) with 22 points. Miami went more than three minutes without a field goal after Davon Reed’s 3-pointer with 3:55 to go gave the Hurricanes a 53-51 lead.
The seventh-seeded Wolfpack (20-12) plays second-seeded Syracuse tonight at 7.
“That’s going to be a lot of fun,” Warren said of the nationally televised matchup. “It’s a great opportunity for us.”
Warren was bidding to become the first player to score 40 or more points against three consecutive ACC teams. He had scored 41 and 42 points, respectively, against Pittsburgh and Boston College.
In ousting the defending tournament champions, Warren was frequently defended well by Garrius Adams and Reed. When he spun into the lane, he often found the long and tall range of Tonye Jekiri.
Turner, meanwhile, was finding open spots on the perimeter.
“We were chasing him off the ball screens,” Adams said. “They were good shots.”
Adams said Warren never forced his shots, instead creating openings for teammates that were tough to defend.
Turner shrugged and smiled about his increased production. He also recognized the timeliness.
“I wish I knew,” Turner said in explanation. “Whatever it is, I wish I could get it for everyone.”
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