Ken Medlin

Paige, Warren put on a show

Posted February 27, 2014

This was how it should be - a rivalry game going down to the wire, with two great players trading bucket for bucket.

Between them, Marcus Paige and TJ Warren combined for 71 points in an overtime thriller that went from boring to amazing in the blink of an eye.

For 35 minutes, State and Carolina looked tired and sluggish, but for the final five minutes of regulation and the entire overtime period it was as good as basketball can get.

And I didn't want it to end. When TJ Warren hit only one of two free throws at the end of the overtime period, my only thought was that - one way or the other - this amazing game was about to end, and I wanted to see five more minutes of basketball.

Still, if the State-Carolina rivalry needed an infusion of drama, it got it.

The loss likely means State will have to make the ACC Tournament final - maybe even win it - to make the NCAA Tournament. And the parallels to the Pack's last-second loss at Syracuse are hard to overlook. Another turnover... in a trap... that turned a game...

Yes, moral victories are still only losses, but State played with a passion and fire that cannot be overlooked either. And Warren - despite what a few national writers might say - looked every bit the ACC Player of the Year candidate he has been all season. A turnover and a missed free throw change nothing where that is concerned.

But while Warren remains the POY front-runner in my book, Paige is making a strong case for himself as a contender. After scoring only four points in the first half, Paige erupted for 31 in the second half and overtime. The game marked the 12th time this season Paige has hit double figures in scoring in the second half after recording single-digits in scoring in the first half. His reputation as a second half player is secure.

The shame of it all is that only one team can celebrate a win after this game - because the Heels and Pack both put on a tremendous show.


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    this is the year Duke turns it on in the latter part of the year- will win ACC an be No. 1 seed at Raleigh

  • Russell Iglehart Feb 27, 2014
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    Tj also gave paige an easy layup for the win, you just dont do that and then blame the refs... well, you guys do but i digress.

  • Russell Iglehart Feb 27, 2014
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    Yes, i heard nothing wrong with paiges interview, He praised Warren and himself (as he should have). Nothing wrong with confidence.

  • dont_preach Feb 27, 2014

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    paige never said how good he was. I was listening to the interview! He said " Im not bragging but I just felt it tonight".

  • Scott Stuart Feb 27, 2014
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    Ken, TJ did not have the turnover in OT. He was hacked on arm and face and lost the ball. Horrible typical no call.

  • hi_i_am_wade Feb 27, 2014

    If I had a vote for ACC POY, it would TJ Warren. If I had a second vote for ACC POY, it would be Marcus Paige.

  • vt94hokies Feb 27, 2014

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    Totally agree.

  • Jeanne Gunn Feb 27, 2014
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    I saw that as well. It was right after the game, and he was probably getting a lot of praise and credit for the win, which he deserves. Hopefully, he'll he channel that into confidence knowing he can make clutch shots with the game on the line. So far, he's done just that.

  • James Kirby Feb 27, 2014
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    Doesn't get any better than that game. What a contest.

  • vt94hokies Feb 27, 2014

    Two gifted players that are fun to watch play this great game.




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