T.J. Warren scores Pete-record 41 to lift N.C. State past Pitt
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In the final game at Petersen Events Center for fifth-year seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, N.C. State star T.J. Warren didn't just steal the show.
He put on a scoring clinic.
Warren poured in a career-high 41 points Monday night, setting a Petersen Events Center single-game scoring record and leading the Wolfpack to a 74-67 victory over Pitt in the home finale.
Warren, the ACC's scoring leader at 23.6 points per game, broke the record of 37 set by Notre Dame's Chris Quinn on Jan. 4, 2006. The 6-foot-8 sophomore Warren also set a Pete record with 16 field goals on 22 attempts, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, and sank 6 of 7 free throws to keep N.C. State's (18-12, 8-9) NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
“TJ Warren gets 41 points, but it's an unselfish 41,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “He's 16 of 22 from the field. He's not taking bad shots. Our guys did an excellent job of running the offense and hunting for him. He had the hot hand. He was special, especially against a team that prides itself on defense the way Pitt does.”
The loss left Pitt (22-8, 10-7) with a 4-5 home record in ACC play this season, its second losing home record in conference play in the past three seasons. It cost the Panthers a chance to clinch the No. 5 seed for next week's ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., with a victory at sixth-place Clemson on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was beside himself about the Panthers getting beaten so badly on the boards. N.C. State finished with a 35-23 advantage — a Pitt low under Dixon — and 13 offensive boards to Pitt's two. The Panthers didn't have an offensive rebound in the first half.
“To lose this way is hard to fathom,” Dixon said. “I don't know how you can get two offensive rebounds in a game, to get 23 rebounds. I don't know how that's possible.”
Pitt freshman guard Josh Newkirk, a Raleigh, N.C., native, scored a career-high 20 points against his hometown school and tied Sean Miller's school record of seven consecutive 3-pointers, dating to the Notre Dame game. Newkirk was 7 of 8 from the field, making all five 3s.
Patterson finished with 17 points, six assists and three rebounds, while Zanna had 11 points and nine rebounds. Lennard Freeman was the only other player to score in double figures for N.C. State, with 10.
Pitt made 12 of its first 16 shots, including 6 of 10 3-pointers. The Panthers used a 14-3 run, sparked by 3s from James Robinson, Jamel Artis and Newkirk, to turn a tied game into a 28-17 advantage. Newkirk made three 3s to score 11 first-half points, which tied his career high.
Warren kept N.C. State in the game by pouring in 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half. The Wolfpack trailed by as many as 13 before scoring the final eight points to cut their deficit to 36-31 at halftime.
Warren continued his scoring barrage, and switching from man-to-man to zone defense did little to deter him. He opened the second half with a pair of three-point plays followed by a jumper from the top of the key and a steal and breakaway layup to tie it at 44-44. In all, he made seven consecutive shots.
“It felt pretty good,” said Warren, who scored 36 in an 85-84 overtime loss to North Carolina on Feb. 26. “It was a pretty cool night. I just moved without the basketball, found open spots.”
The Wolfpack led by as many as five before Newkirk drilled a 3 from the left wing to cut it to 63-62.
N.C. State, however, never relinquished its lead, as Warren hit a 3, a jumper and sealed it with a breakaway dunk with 21.5 seconds left.
“We played pretty much our principles on him,” Patterson said. “He shot over us. He made everything. He's a great player. He's a scorer. He knows his strengths. His strengths is moving without the ball and getting layups. He knows how to score, and he proved that today.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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