Aaron Schoonmaker

Warren-less Wolfpack improve as a team in win

Posted January 21

— Monday night’s win over Maryland wasn’t a “sexy” win. In fact, the first 20 minutes were downright painful to watch. But then something happened after halftime. The Wolfpack, missing their undisputed top player TJ Warren, began playing as a team.

A defensive stop led to a transition dunk for Kyle Washington. Ralston Turner, after going 0-for-5 from long range in the first half, gained confidence and hit five three’s in the second. BeeJay Anya played two-way basketball, finishing with four blocks and three rebounds in 17 minutes. Anthony Barber added four assists to his 13 points.

It was truly a team effort for the Wolfpack in a win that many didn’t expect to see with Warren wearing a sweatshirt on the bench nursing a bad ankle. All eight NC State players to see action played at least 14 minutes and all eight got in the scoring column. They forced 12 turnovers and shot 56 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes.

“Some guys had to step up and do some things they weren’t,” guard Desmond Lee said of the roles without Warren in the lineup. “We showed we can win without TJ. If guys start looking at TJ Warren, we have other guys that can score too.”

Lee, who added that he was pleased with the team’s defensive effort, finished with four steals, two assists and three rebounds to compliment his 13 points Monday.

With Warren out, scoring became an immediate concern. Where would it come from knowing that 22 points per game were unavailable? Nobody else entered Monday averaging better than 12 and only Barber averaged double figures.

In the first half it was nowhere to be found as they limped to the locker room with just 20 points. In the second half, it came from everywhere, but most notably Turner who finished with a career-high 23 points.

“Obviously with TJ out it was tough because he can relieve the pressure off of you,” Turner said. “When I hit the first shot, I never looked back from there.”

Is NC State, who was being out-scored by an average of 14 points per game in the calendar year, a better team without Warren? Absolutely not. Did they make strides in maturity as a team beyond their leading scorer Monday? Absolutely.

Neither Turner nor Lee said they considered Warren's absence a next-man-up situation. They each stated that it meant every player would have to understand their roles better. In my opinion, for a young developing team, a game without their go-to crutch is the best thing for them in the log run.

When asked about the team’s confidence after Monday’s win, Turner said, “It went sky high.”

11 Comments

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  • rsadcox2 Jan 21, 7:55 p.m.

    I think a lot of people don't get what State did in the second half. 45 points without their leading scorer. This ball club in a similar fashion to last year's team can play at an up tempo speed. It seemed to bring out the best in them as a group. I hope they can continue that style of play. It was definitely entertaining.

  • olivechapel1000 Jan 21, 4:47 p.m.

    Good win, MD has some offense. How did wells get there? Too many great players going else where. But happy to have the good players we do.

  • vt94hokies Jan 21, 4:32 p.m.

    This team grew up in the 2nd half last night. It shows us that one person doesn't make a team. All players upped their game in this one.

  • Itsthelaw Jan 21, 9:08 a.m.

    Hey Maryland, I hope the ghost of Gary Williams sweat all over you on the ride home.

    Also the... View More

    — Posted by eyepeefreelee

    The best thing about the State of Maryland is that it only takes about 45 minutes to drive through it!

  • eyepeefreelee Jan 21, 8:52 a.m.

    Hey Maryland, I hope the ghost of Gary Williams sweat all over you on the ride home.

    Also the name of your state begins with a girl's name.

  • Tizu Jan 21, 8:16 a.m.

    It looked like UM was going to beat them there for a while...Glad State picked themselves up and Turner played excellent in the 2nd half. He appears to be a well-spoken young man. Good for the Wolfpack. They needed this win.

    Anytime a game ends with a Maryland loss, it's a success in my book.

  • jacamoe Jan 21, 7:45 a.m.

    Great to see the other guys step up. Still pinching myself. Get better TJ, we still need you. Go Wolfpack!!!!

  • Gunnstigator Jan 21, 6:06 a.m.

    This game showed the Pack players that Warren isn't the only one who can put up big numbers. Good team effort.

    Agree with JMCDOW about 9 PM games.

  • jeff727 Jan 21, 5:41 a.m.

    Go Pack!

  • jmcdow2792 Jan 21, 5:05 a.m.

    big win, but will fail to be if they lose the next game at home to gatech....GO WOLFPACK!!

    — Posted by sweet D

    At least Ga Tech is at a reasonable time. Games at 9 o'clock should be banned. Hope there is a big crowd and the Wolfpack puts on a show for Tech.

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