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March 14, 2014

Quick hits from NC State's win over Miami

Quick hits and notes from NC State's 67-58 win over Miami in front of a 21,533 mostly NC State fans at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Thursday evening in the second round of the ACC Tournament.

Play of the game

NC State only trailed twice in the game. The second came when Miami freshman guard Davon Reed nailed a three-pointer in transition to put the Canes up 53-51 with 3:50 left in the game.

NCSU redshirt junior Ralston Turner tied the game with 3:04 left on a pair of free throws. After getting a stop, the Pack called a timeout and worked the ball to the block where sophomore forward T.J. Warren scored on a post move to put NCSU on top for good. Then came the play of the game.

After another defensive stop, NCSU head coach Mark Gottfried called one of his favorite plays, with Turner having the option of rubbing off screens on the baseline or around the wing. Turner chose the latter, got free for a good look and drained a huge three-pointer with 1:45 left that put the Pack up 58-53 and deflated any momentum or charge that Miami had left in them.

Highlight of the game

The ACC's Digital Network, which puts all their videos on their YouTube.com channel, has the clip of Warren's defensive hustle leading to a fast break dunk for freshman forward Lennard Freeman.

Honorable mention goes to Miami senior wing Rion Brown with a nasty baseline drive and dunk while getting fouled by Freeman with 4:25 left in the first half. The three-point play made it 19-17 NCSU at the time.

Player of the game

Warren led in NCSU in scoring (24 points) and tied for team-high in rebounding (eight), but fair or not that's what the ACC Player of the Year is supposed to do for NC State. More important was the contribution from Turner.

He made 7 of 12 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers, for 22 points, one off his NCSU-high set in a home win over Maryland Jan. 20 when NC State played without Warren, which also tied his career-high that he had once during his two seasons at LSU.

The five made threes tied for the most made in an ACC Tournament game by a player not named Scott Wood, who on three different occasions made at least six. Former forward Ilian Evtimov twice made five threes in the 2005 ACC Tournament, and former guard Scooter Sherrill made five against Georgia Tech in the 2003 quarterfinals.

Turner has now made 67 three-pointers this year. He needs six more to tie Danny Strong's 1996 total for the third most ever by a Wolfpack junior in one season. Wood has the most with 95.

T.J. Warren was still good

Although he was not player of the game, Warren still did his thing Thursday night. He made 9 of 18 shots from the field and 6 of 8 free throws to reach 24 points.

Updating some of his numbers for the year, Warren has 769 points this season, 29 shy of tying Kenny Carr's 1976 total for the fourth most in one season at NCSU. Warren would need to score 70 more points this year to pass David Thompson's 1975 tally of 838 points for the most ever in one season at NCSU.

Warren came into the game averaging 24.8 points a contest and left with the same average. Thus he remains 0.1 point ahead of Thompson's 1973 average for the fifth-highest scoring average in a single season for the Wolfpack.

Warren moved into 39th place all-time at NC State in career points with 1,194, passing Engin Atsur during the course of Thursday's game.

Point guards protecting the ball

Looking for a stat of the game? Try turnovers. NC State had just five of them, and conversely Miami had 15. That large margin led to an astounding 26-7 advantage in points off turnovers for the Wolfpack. It tied the best turnover margin of the year for NCSU with their win at Virginia Tech Feb. 22.

The big reason for the success was the combination of sophomore Tyler Lewis and freshman Anthony Barber at point guard. Lewis and Barber combined for 11 assists without turning it over once. Barber nearly set a career-high with his seven assists, one off the total he had in a win against East Carolina Dec. 21.

In the past three games, Lewis and Barber have combined for 26 assists and just two turnovers. Barber has not turned it over in those three contests, and Lewis is leading the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio.

What the win means

NC State improved to 20-12 on the year while Miami ends its season at 17-16. NCSU took two out of three games against the Canes this year to improve their overall record against Miami to 10-7. It was however NC State's first win in three ties against UM in the ACC Tournament. Last year Miami defeated the Pack in the semifinals en route to its championship.

The Wolfpack is 68-50 all-time in the ACC Tournament and 22-21 in games player in Greensboro. They are 3-5 as a No. 7 seed.

The victory ensured NC State of a 20-win season for the third straight year, the first time that has happened since the Pack did it four straight times from 2004-07. Gottfried becomes the first NCSU head coach since Everett Case to win 20 games in his first three years at the helm. Gottfried's 68 (and counting) wins thus far trail only Case's 80 for the most in the first three campaigns.

Other stats of note

- NC State outscored Miami in the paint 34-24.

- Miami won the battle on the board 31-25 overall but both teams had 11 offensive rebounds. The Canes though were better at converting second chances, 15-9.

- As expected which such a large turnover margin NC State had the advantage in fast break points, 10-3.

- State's bench edged Miami's reserves 13-11.

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