N.C. State, Albany advance in ‘first four’ NCAA Tournament games
Associated Press March 18, 2014 11:26PM
North Carolina State forward Beejay Anya celebrates on the bench in the closing seconds of the team's 74-59 win over Xavier in a first-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Updated: March 18, 2014 11:28PM
DAYTON, Ohio — T.J. Warren scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half on Tuesday night, showing why he was the ACC’s player of the year, and North Carolina State led most of the way in a 74-59 victory over Xavier in the NCAA tournament’s First Four.
N.C. State (22-12) didn’t have much time to celebrate. The 12th-seeded Wolfpack headed to Orlando, Fla., for a game on Thursday against St. Louis in the Midwest Regional.
Warren had the most to do with it. The sensational sophomore made up for a freshman tournament flop on the same floor a year earlier, preventing Xavier (21-14) from getting any traction in the second half.
Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee. Leading scorer Semaj Christon was limited to 14 points, and Xavier made only 2 of 14 shots from beyond the arc.
Xavier was playing in a familiar arena less than an hour from campus. Familiar, but not entirely friendly. Fans of the Dayton Flyers — a long-time rival — booed loudly as they took the court, making for a mixed welcome with a lot of Musketeer fans in the stands as well.
Warren made it all a moot point, helping N.C. State take all the drama out of the game over the final 11 minutes. Ralston Turner added 17 points.
ALBANY 71, MOUNT ST. MARY’S 64
DAYTON, Ohio — D.J. Evans scored 22 points, including two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left, to lead Albany to its first NCAA tournament victory.
The Great Danes (19-14) advance to meet overall No. 1 seed and top-ranked Florida on Thursday in Orlando.
It was a wild game of incredible turnarounds, with the Great Danes bolting to leads of 13-0 and 21-2, only to have The Mount (16-17) bounce back with a 21-2 run of its own to pull even.
Peter Hooley had 20 points and Gary Johnson 13 for Albany, winless in its three previous NCAA trips.
Hooley, one of three Australians on the Albany roster, hit two free throws with 2:43 remaining to stretch the lead to 65-62. After Julian Norfleet countered with a bucket, Hooley again pounded his way to the basket and lofted a shot over a defender for a 67-64 lead at the 2-minute mark.
It stayed that way with the teams missing big shots. Rashad Whack and Norfleet each missed potential tying 3s before Evans was fouled with 12.6 seconds left and hit both shots to increase the lead to five points.
Norfleet then missed another 3 and Albany finally could call itself an NCAA winner.
Will Miller led The Mount with 21, all on 3s. He didn’t get a shot off in the last 3:32.
Whack added 16 points and Sam Prescott 14 for The Mount, which electrified the crowd at the University of Dayton with 3-point fireworks. The Mountaineers hit 12 of 37 shots behind the arc to time and again come back from deficits.