State's Made A Lineup Change Too...

There has been a lot of talk about P.J. Hairston's insertion into the North Carolina lineup, but don't forget about the change Mark Gottfried has made to his lineup. T.J. Warren's scoring ability makes NC State even more dangerous.

It had been a while since T.J. Warren flashed the scoring ability he showed frequently early in the season. He did that and much more after earning the start against Florida State.

The talented freshman had a career night.

Warren, was all over the court, as he knocked down 12-of-15 shots, scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds... both career-highs.

"I had a good performance," said Warren.

Good performance? It was a great performance.

A prolific scorer, Warren can put the ball in the basket a variety of ways, and his teammates know what his scoring punch adds to the Wolfpack.

"I feel like T.J. can get 30 every game," said Wolfpack senior forward Richard Howell. "I feel like he's that good of a scorer. He's always in the right place. He has great hands around the basket. I feel like honestly he can get 30 whenever he wants to and if he puts his mind to it."

It was Warren's best offensive outing since a 19-point effort against North Carolina in the PNC Arena when the Wolfpack knocked off the Tar Heels 91-83. Warren came off the bench in that contest, hitting 9-of-12 shots in 27 minutes.

In fact, most of Warren's best games in conference play have come on the Wolfpack's home floor. The 6-foot-8 wing has scored in double figures in five of seven home conference games, posting a 14.4 points per game average in PNC. He hasn't been nearly as productive on the road, where Warren has had two scoreless outings and another a 3-point game. State's played six road conference games, and he's averaging just 6.7 points per game away from home.

"The fans at PNC are very supportive and playing on the road is very tough," said Warren. "I had to learn that the hard way. The road is tough. It's just the environment, just a different environment. The gyms might look a little boring. You just got to stay focused and be ready to play when it's time to play.

"It's just a whole lot different from playing at home. When you're at home you're just so amped up to play at home. Pretty much all of the road games I didn't feel comfortable. I don't know what it is."

The Pack's next matchup is a road trip at North Carolina. The Tar Heels have made some lineup changes, specifically starting wing P.J. Hairston at power forward, but NC State has changed their lineup too. Now Warren is starting at the small forward position, and he says that he is as confident as he was prior to his breakout game against the Seminoles.

"My confidence is still the same," said Warren. "I'm going to go out there and play hard defense, rebound and make plays.

" Different nights it's going to be different guys so I just have to break through that and play hard when I'm out there."

NC State led big for much of the game against North Carolina, but the Tar Heels came roaring back in the final minutes to lose by just eight in the previous meeting. Warren, who is excited about the next matchup, says that the Wolfpack can't take their foot off the pedal.

"It should be a lot of fun," he said. "[I've been] playing against those guys for a long time, so we're going to play hard and compete.

"[UNC's late rally] just shows that [they are] a pretty good team. We kind of let up on the gas at the end. This time we want to step on their throats and keep pounding them."

A win over the Heels would give the Pack a season sweep, something they haven't managed to do very often. Warren, who grew up in Durham and has always followed the rivalry closely with his dad being a former NC State player, believes a sweep would be huge for the program.

"It would be big for the program to sweep Carolina twice in a year," he said. "That's our goal and that's what we want to try and do."

There has been a lot of talk about Hairston's insertion into the North Carolina lineup, but don't forget about the change Mark Gottfried has made to his starting group. Warren's scoring punch and rebounding ability as a three-man makes State even more dangerous.

"Him scoring definitely helps us a lot," Howell said of Warren. "If he gets rolling that would be a big thing. The way T.J.'s been rebounding and scoring I feel like that's going to definitely help us. I feel like he's one of our x-factor players.

"I feel like he can lead the nation in scoring [down the road]. It's unbelievable how good he is around the basket. He knows where to be. He just knows how to play the game. That's something we admire about him."


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