The Tennessee men’s basketball team faced its biggest deficit of the season at the end of the first half. And when it started to whittle away at N.C. State’s 17-point lead in the second, T.J. Warren wouldn’t let it go.
The Wolfpack star sophomore forward scored 21 points to lead his team to a 65-58 win over a Vols team that was desperate for a quality victory. Instead, UT dropped its second game in a row and saw its four-game winning streak at home snap. The Wolfpack’s winning streak grew to six.
UT (6-3) entered the game as an eight-point favorite. N.C. State (8-2) had previous losses to Cincinnati and North Carolina Central. But whatever edge the Vols had was squandered by another frigid start on offense.
UT shot 24 percent in the first half and missed all nine of its 3-pointers in the first half. Warren reached 11 before intermission, which was foreshadowing for N.C. State. The Wolfpack is now 26-8 when he hits double-digits.
Vols senior forward Jeronne Maymon scored 10 first-half points and got some help from guard Jordan McRae in the second. Maymon finished with a season-best 17 points and 16 rebounds. McRae poured in 21. Jarnell Stokes added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Efficiency was an issue. N.C. State blocked 12 shots.
What started as a sparse crowd of 14,831 dwindled as the Vols’ failed to rally. Fans picked up their coats and started streaming toward the exits with two and a half minutes left to play.
N.C. State now leads its all-time series against the Vols 6-3. The Wolfpack has won three straight in Knoxville. It was the first time N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried had coached against UT as the head man of the Wolfpack. He went 9-5 against the Vols while he was at Alabama from 1999-2009.