Warren outplays Fair on both ends of floor, limits Syracuse star to 3-of-16 shooting

first_img Published on March 15, 2014 at 12:26 am Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 GREENSBORO, N.C. — T.J. Warren is a man of few words, but the five he told North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried in the team meeting before Friday’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal against Syracuse resonated with center Jordan Vandenberg.“T.J. Warren said before the game, said to Coach, ‘I want to guard C.J.,” Vandenberg said. “(Gottfried) said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, that’s what you want to do.”Warren, who was named the ACC’s Player of the Year primarily for his elite scoring ability, held Fair to just nine points on 3-of-16 shooting in the No. 2-seed Orange’s (27-5, 14-4) 66-63 loss to the No. 7-seed Wolfpack (21-12, 9-9). He also finished with 28 points on 9-of-21 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Fair, meanwhile, didn’t make a non-dunk until the second half, and never found his rhythm as SU’s go-to star was unable to bail his team out from a loss in its first-ever ACC tournament game.Warren, Gottfried and the rest of N.C. State’s players praised their best player for his exceptional defense.“I thought tonight T.J. Warren locked in defensively and made every shot that C.J. took tough,” Gottfried said. “Every single one of them. I don’t know that he had an easy shot all night long.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFair, SU head coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange players, however, told another story. They agreed Warren’s defense was aggressive and he did a good job of denying Fair the ball, but they felt Fair still missed plenty of shots he normally makes.“I thought I was getting my normal shots,” Fair said. “They just weren’t falling. I mean, that’s all it was really.”Whether the emphasis is on T.J. or C.J., the missed shots started just 43 seconds into the game. Fair curled around a screen and missed a 15-foot jumper.Five seconds later, a running bank attempt caromed off the iron as well. And on the Orange’s next possession, Warren blocked Fair’s jump-shot attempt from the elbow.Fair would go on to make just 2-of-12 shots in the first half, tallying only four points and one rebound, while Warren posted 11 points, three rebounds and two blocks.“I just wanted to stay on his left hand, try to force him right a little bit and make him uncomfortable,” Warren said.Fair was able to knock down a 10-footer early in the second half, but that was the farthest shot he would hit all game.When the Orange needed an answer, Fair wasn’t there. Eventually, the SU offense turned to Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant.When the Wolfpack needed a push, Warren was there on the offensive end of the court as well.He made back-to-back jumpers midway in the half before responding to a thunderous Jerami Grant-to-Rakeem Christmas alley oop at the 5:23 mark.The basket pulled the Orange back within one, but Warren drove on Trevor Cooney, drew a foul and knocked down both shots.Then after a Grant jumper made it 62-61 with 2:01 left, Warren calmly buried a baseline jumper over Christmas.“I think he was clearly the best player in the league this year,” Boeheim said of Warren. “He is a tremendous offensive player.”For Warren, his performance gave N.C. State a chance to keep play in the ACC tournament semifinals, and ultimately a spot in a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament.For Fair, his performance puts the once 25-0 Orange one loss away from the end of its season.Said Fair: “Every game I take the normal shots I usually take, and today was one of those nights where I couldn’t really get going.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

USC stays unbeaten with extra-inning win

first_imgThe Trojans worked for the win on Sunday afternoon and the laborious 12-inning effort paid off. When all hopes of a win seemed dashed, with USC trailing by a run down to their last out, redshirt junior Omar Cotto Lozada launched a soaring three-run, walk-off home run into the trees down the right field line for his first-ever collegiate home run.Heroic effort · The Trojans were down to their final out in the bottom of the 12th inning when outfielder Omar Cotto Lozada delivered a game-winning 3-run home run. Lozada came into the game batting .143. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan “I really have no words right now. It felt amazing,” Lozada said, all smiles. “I’m just happy we got the win and we’re 7-0. I’m happy for that. It’s so unreal, so amazing. I’m just speechless right now.”With Lozada’s booming homer, USC protected an undefeated 7-0 record for the second time in three years. The win also marked the team’s second straight series sweep, this time of North Dakota State in the first series this season for the Bison.“To get sweeps back to back weekends, that’s really hard to do,” USC head coach Dan Hubbs said. “I don’t care who you’re playing, where you’re playing, what you’re doing.”Sophomore Kyle Twomey returned to the mound for the Trojans. The left hander kept the Trojans in the game, allowing only one run in a 5 1/3 inning-outing in which he fanned six.Twomey threw four scoreless innings until a bout of trouble and multiple defensive miscues found the Trojans in the fifth. The sophomore allowed a leadoff single, and a second Bison batter reached on a shortstop error, which quickly became a first and third situation after a stolen base. North Dakota State braved a suicide squeeze attempt, and in ill-advised and unsuccessful Trojan attempt to pin the runner at the plate, all runners were safe and the Bison took a 1-0 lead. Senior reliever James Guillen would finish the inning, but allow another run before his day ended.Until the eighth inning, USC was unable to take advantage of many scoring opportunities including three leadoff singles, stranding six runners. Down by two runs in the eighth, however, sophomore designated hitter AJ Ramirez drew a walk and stole second, setting the scene for senior third baseman Kevin Swick. On the two-out payoff pitch, Swick singled up the middle to an eruption of cheers. With eerie similarity to a Bison play just an inning prior, freshman Jeremy Martinez sent a soaring double past the diving left fielder to tie the game.In a display of offensive prowess, USC thrashed North Dakota State on Saturday, scoring in four consecutive innings for a resounding 9-0 victory. Equally impressive was the performance by senior Bob Wheatley, who pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out four. Add that to a nearly flawless bullpen, which collectively allowed only one hit over three innings, and you get one of the most solid outings from the Trojan team thus far this season.USC leaped ahead early in the second inning with three runs off four hits, including a double from senior first baseman Jake Hernandez, who went 2 for 3 in the game with 2 RBI. In a game in which eight Trojan batters had hits and five had multiple hits, the loudest might have come off the bat of junior second baseman Dante Flores who launched a two-run blast to right in the fourth inning for his first home run of the year.The Trojans began the weekend series with their third walk-off in seven games this season, though this was the first settled without dipping into extra innings. USC trailed by three runs in the eighth inning — their largest deficit thus far this season — but staged a late comeback made possible by a pair of Bison errors to ultimately win 4-3.“I think the guys are feeling like right now that they can come back at any time,” Hubs said. “We’re kind of the cardiac kids right now.”Junior ace Wyatt Strahan found himself in a pitcher’s duel against North Dakota State’s Dave Ernst. Strahan held Bison batters hitless through 5 2/3 innings until the no-hitter was finally broken up in the sixth inning.The right hander would allow all three Bison runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings of work, striking out eight batters and walking only one.USC was able to manufacture two runs in the bottom of the eighth, and after a shutdown inning from freshman reliever Jeff Paschke, the Trojans faced their final three outs trailing by two. After a walk and a single, an infield error by North Dakota State loaded the bases for sophomore center fielder Timmy Robinson. Robinson laced the game-winning, two-run single to left field.With four walk-offs in just seven games, the Trojan tenacity has been a staple of success thus far this season, but while exciting, Hubbs knows it’s not sustainable.“They’ve done a great job of fighting, never feeling like they’re out of anything, playing until the last strike,” Hubbs said. “As long as we continue to do that, I think we’ll have success. Are we going to be able to win like that every time? Absolutely not. We know that.”For the first time this season, USC will hit the road to take on Long Beach State at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Trojans lost to the Dirtbags in a scrimmage this season, 4-3.last_img read more