DAYTON, OHIO – With the game hanging in the balance, Xavier couldn’t stop T.J. Warren. Or anybody else, really. And that’s what will bother the Musketeers the most in their longer-than-expected offseason.
Warren, the ACC’s player of the year, scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half on Tuesday night, and North Carolina State pulled away to a 74-59 victory in the NCAA tournament’s First Four.
Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee. Leading scorer Semaj Christon was limited to 14 points, and Xavier made only 2 of 14 shots from beyond the arc.
Xavier’s biggest disappointment was its inability to slow down the Wolfpack (22-12) in the second half, when N.C. State shot 61.5 percent from the field.
“We weren’t ourselves today on defense,” Stainbrook said. “We build our identity on defense. When we can’t get stops, it ruins everything else. Overall, it was just a shambles.”
Albany 71, Mt. St. Mary’s 64
In Dayton, Ohio, D.J. Evans scored 22 points, including two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left, to lead Albany to its first NCAA tournament victory, over Mount St. Mary’s.
The Mountaineers (16-17), winners of the Northeast Conference tournament, fell behind 13-0 and 21-2 at the outset. Then, after scratching and clawing all day — and making 12 of 37 3-pointers — they went scoreless over the last 2:28.
Mount St. Mary’s, like Albany (19-14), was making its fourth NCAA appearance. It had won once before — a victory over Coppin State in 2008 in the old format of an opening-round leading into the big tournament.