Bayamon, PR (Sports Network) - T.J. Warren totaled 21 points with four
rebounds as the No. 6 North Carolina State Wolfpack blitzed the Massachusetts
Minutemen, 94-76, in semifinal action at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Richard Howell scored 19 points with nine boards and Scott Wood added 15
points for the Wolfpack (3-0), who will face Oklahoma State in Sunday's final.
Jesse Morgan picked up 15 points for the Minutemen (2-0), who had bested
Providence on Thursday. Terrell Vinson and Chaz Williams poured in 13 points
apiece, with Williams dishing out five assists against six turnovers.
Vinson's bucket with 11:24 left in the first half pulled the Minutemen within
four at 20-16, but the Wolfpack roared back to take control of the game for
Lorenzo Brown and Warren hit consecutive shots to up the margin to eight, a
try from Purvis a short time later put NC State up 27-17, and a three-point
play from Warren with 4:53 left before halftime provided a cushy 35-24 margin.
Wood then hit a pair of three pointers in the final two-plus minutes to help
NC State lead 48-32 at the break.
UMass was never able to shrink its deficit below double digits for the entire
Tyler Lewis' three-point play pushed the Wolfpack advantage to 20, at 69-49,
with 11:39 remaining, and NC State eventually pushed its lead to a game-high
25 points on two from the line by Howell with 3:22 left before coasting the
rest of the way.
NC State was in control in the early stages, scoring 12 of the game's first 14
points thanks to five from Rodney Purvis, but UMass used a short burst to
climb within 16-14 after a slam from Maxie Esho.
Massachusetts had won each of the previous three meetings, including a 68-56
decision in Amherst on Jan. 2, 2003 ... NC State shot 56.5 percent from the
floor, compared to 40.3 for the Minutemen ... Brown wound up with 11 points
and a game-high 10 assists ... Esho finished with 12 points in defeat.
The Sports Network