The freshman from Durham, N.C., topped his previous highs of 22 points and eight rebounds, posted in the Pack’s second game of the season. State never trailed in the contest at PNC Arena, cruising to an 84-66 victory.
RALEIGH, NC Feb. 19, 2013 – Freshman T.J. Warren, making his third start in NC State’s last six games, had career highs in points and rebounds to lead the Wolfpack to an 84-66 victory over Florida State on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
The freshman legacy player from Durham had 31 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double, topping his previous scoring and rebounding highs of 22 points and eight rebounds set in the Pack’s second game of the season, a 72-55 victory over Penn State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
His 31 points tied the third most ever scored by a Wolfpack freshman, matching the total Scott Wood had in 2010 at Florida State and J.J. Hickson had against William and Mary in 2007. Hickson had 33 in his first game as a freshman against Western Carolina for second-place, and Ernie Myers had a school-record 35 as a freshman against Duke on Jan. 26, 1983.
Warren’s efforts gave the Wolfpack (19-7 overall, 8-5 ACC) a solid home victory over the Seminoles, who came into the contest a full game behind fourth-place State in the ACC standings.
“T.J. really played fantastic tonight,” NC State second-year head coach Mark Gottfried said. “He found ways to get open all night long, in transition and on the boards. It was just a terrific, terrific game for him tonight.”
Wood, with three 3-pointers on the night, became the second player in NC State history, after all-time leading scorer Rodney Monroe, to amass more than 300 career baskets from beyond the arc. He now has 302, which ranks ninth in ACC history.
Junior Lorenzo Brown added nine assists for the Pack.
“I thought everyone played at a high level, and that’s what we need to win games like this,” Gottfried said.
The Pack owned the boards all night long, with a 45-21 rebounding advantage over the Seminoles. State’s offensive rebounding total of 21 matched FSU’s overall total. That domination of the boards helped get Gottfried’s transition offense going, particularly in the first half.
“We want to get out and run,” Gottfried said. “We did that tonight by getting rebounds and steals. That got our offense moving right out of the gates.”
The Pack’s offense centered around Warren, whose father Tony also played for the Pack from 1977-79 under head coach Norm Sloan. The younger Warren made 12 of 15 field goals. Eight of his 13 rebounds were on the offensive end.
“That might be the biggest stat of the whole night,” Gottfried said. “He just found ways to get to the ball and put it back in the basket.”
The Pack jumped out to an early lead and never trailed the visitors from Tallahassee. Warren made an early 3-pointer and finished with two in the game, his first game with more than one since the Pack’s win over Norfolk State on Dec. 15.
State owned a 40-30 halftime lead, with Warren posting a team-high 11 points before intermission. The Pack’s lead stretched to 21 points on Warren’s final basket of the night, a put-back of fellow freshman Tyler Lewis’ missed jumper.
The Pack returns to action this weekend, traveling to Chapel Hill to face rival North Carolina in a 4 p.m. ESPN2 contest at the Smith Center. State returns to PNC Arena next Wednesday to face Boston College in an 8 p.m. contest on the ACC Network.