T.J. Warren stars as NC State stuns No. 11 Syracuse

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Greensboro, NC, United States (4E Sports) – T.J. Warren scored four of his game-high 28 points, including two crucial foul shots, in the last 1:41 as North Carolina State stunned No. 11 Syracuse, 66-63, in the ACC quarterfinal Friday at Greensboro Coliseum.

After Warren sank two foul shots for a three-point cushion, the Orange missed six straight attempts in the last 20 seconds, including four three-pointers that would have tied the game, allowing the Wolfpack to advance to the semifinal round.

Warren, the ACC Player of the Year, scored 20 or more points for the 16th straight game. He also tied Rodney Monroe’s school record with his 28th game with 20 or more points.

Jordan Vandenberg was the only other player in double digits with 10 points for the Wolfpack (21-12), who will take on the winner of Duke in the semifinal Saturday.

This marked the third time in as many seasons head coach Mark Gottfried has coached the Pack into the tournament semifinal. NC State is 6-2 in ACC tournament play under Gottfried.

“I’m very, very excited for our players,” said Gottfried. “I’m really, really proud of them. I don’t know if I could be more proud of a group than I am of my team. And they believed they could win, which is the most important thing.”

With the loss, the Orange (27-5), who finished second in the ACC during the regular season, bowed out of the ACC in their conference tournament debut.

Tyler Ennis scored 21 points while Jerami Grant added 19 points and 10 boards but their efforts weren’t enough to cover for C.J. Fair’s dismal outing. Fair went 3-for-16 and finished with nine points.

The loss put Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament seed into serious doubt. The Orange will have to wait and watch as teams throughout the country compete in their conference tournaments and potentially boost their tournament resumes.

The Wolfpack grabbed a 52-44 lead behind Warren’s jumper but the Orange went on a 15-5 blast to grab a 59-57 lead with 3:41 to play.

However, the Wolpack responded with a 7-2 blast for a 64-61 cushion before Michael Gbinije buried a jumper to bring the Orange within one. Warren then sank two foul shots for a three-point lead with 25 ticks left.

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