- Rob Kinnan-US PRESSWIRE
The North Carolina State Wolfpack are living up to all that preseason hype.
One day after freshman T.J. Warren put on a show and made quick work of the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Wolfpack forward decided to put on an encore performance. Warren had his second 20-point game in as many days as the Wolfpack blew away the Massachusetts Minutemen to advance to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Finals. The freshman finished with 21 points, four rebounds and two steals.
Warren has looked unstoppable in his two games in Puerto Rico. He’s been shooting the lights out at 74% on 17 for 23 shooting in the two games combined. He’s come off the bench in both games and given North Carolina State a scoring threat its opponents haven’t found a way to contain.
Lorzeno Brown quickly bounced back after Thursday’s 1 for 10 shooting performance from the field. The point guard returned to form with 11 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds. The do-it-all guard looked a lot more comfortable on the court today then he did Thursday, dominating the game in a way only Brown can. His explosive quickness freed him to do virtually anything he pleased against the Minutemen as he took to the court and made sure all his teammates were involved.
Brown also did what he does best, taking excellent care of the ball. A player with his speed has a tendency to play too quick and run his way into trouble. However, Brown does an excellent job of knowing when to change speeds. He also knows when it’s time to be aggressive and attack or be conservative and pull back. He showed it tonight by only causing three turnovers despite his 10 assists. Coach Mark Gottfried will take a 3:1 assists/turnover ratio every day of the week.
The scary thought is, Gottfried knows Brown can do even better. Last year’s runner-up to leading the ACC in assists is poised to claim that title this season.
Senior Richard Howell must have been inspired by his freshmen teammates Thursday. In only 23 minutes he exploded for 19 points and nine rebounds before foul trouble slowed him down. Six of those rebounds were on the offensive end as the 6-foot-8, 257lbs forward continues to prove he’s a beast on the boards. Howell is one of the ACC’s top rebounders and is going to steal a lot of extra possessions for the Wolfpack, as opponents continue to struggle finding a way to box him out.
Scott Wood continued to show why he’s one of the nation’s best three-point shooters as he connected five times from downtown. C.J. Leslie also continued to show why he’s a favorite for ACC player of the year, delivering 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Wolfpack are showing its freshmen can dominate games while its key players are almost becoming afterthoughts. Gottfried might want to find out what’s in that Puerto Rico water and be sure to bring it back state side.