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