Talking Points: Last in, first win for NC State
Posted March 19
1. Survive and advance is the name of the game, which is exactly what NC State did in Dayton, Ohio. The Wolfpack weathered early foul trouble for T.J. Warren and a Xavier rally to begin the second half before pulling away in a 74-59 victory over the Musketeers
Warren scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. As the ACC Player of the Year started to dominate, including a critical stretch where he scored 12 of NC State's 18 points after Xavier cut the lead down to two with just over 16 minutes to play, Warren appeared as though he was going to get whatever he wanted from anywhere on the court.
Xavier's (lack of) D on Warren exactly what NC State needed. Like Pitt, not being made to work. If TJ runs free, never gets in own way.— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) March 19, 2014
Not only did the he Musketeers fizzle defensively, they got cold from the perimeter after NC State did a decent job taking back the paint with nine blocks. Xavier was 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
2. Warren's 25 points marked the 18th consecutive game where the ACC Player of the Year has scored 20 or more. It's the 30th game of his career, which bested the previous school record of 29. Warren now holds NC State's all-time single-season scoring record with 843 points, surpassing David Thompson's 838 points.
Regardless of the Wolfpack's NCAA Tournament fate, Warren's sophomore season has to be appreciated by anyone who enjoys basketball.
3. With Warren's production practically a given, the success – or failure – of NC State depends on what the rest of the roster can provide.
The Wolfpack will always be in position to win as long as Ralston Turner chips in double-digit points. Tyler Lewis also did a great job stepping up as Cat Barber dealt with illness in the second half, dishing out great passes and making the offense efficient with only one turnover.
4. Xavier's Matt Stainbrook has become sort of a cult hero in college basketball circles. He certainly doesn't look like a typical player, with his rec specs and large frame, but Stainbrook got buckets. He gave Vandenberg trouble early in the contest and eventually finished with 19 points.
Stainbrook looks like he should be holding a beer— Adam Gold (@AGoldFan) March 19, 2014
"What do you mean I can't smoke in the tunnel?" - Matt Stainbrook— Ben Swain (@TheBenSwain) March 19, 2014
5. As noted by Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, all three of NC State's NCAA Tournament wins under Mark Gottfried occurred in the state of Ohio.
Now the Wolfpack must overcome a quick turnaround from Dayton to Orlando, where they'll take on St. Louis on Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.