T.J. Warren scores 25 points, N.C. State beats Xavier 74-59 in NCAA First Four

The Associated Press

North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren dunks against Xavier in the first half of a first-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)

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By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — T.J. Warren scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half on Tuesday night, showing why he was the ACC's player of the year, and North Carolina State led most of the way in a 74-59 victory over Xavier in the NCAA tournament's First Four.

N.C. State (22-12) didn't have much time to celebrate. The 12th-seeded Wolfpack headed to Orlando, Fla., for a game on Thursday against St. Louis in the Midwest Regional.

Warren had the most to do with it. The sensational sophomore made up for a freshman tournament flop on the same floor a year earlier, preventing Xavier (21-14) from getting any traction in the second half.

Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee.

Warren and N.C. State took all the drama out of it in the last 11 minutes, helping the Wolfpack pull away.

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