The first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament got underway on Tuesday night as North Carolina State defeated Xavier and Albany edged Mount St. Mary's.
North Carolina State 74, Xavier 59
The Wolfpack led nearly the entire way behind yet another stellar performance from T.J. Warren, who dropped 25 points in the winning effort. Warren picked up two fouls in the first five minutes but did not commit another one after that despite playing nearly the entire game. Mark Gottfried took a risk with his star forward, and it paid off in a big way.
North Carolina State played strong defense throughout, and even when the Musketeers got a decent look at the rim, their shot usually clanked out. Xavier shot 42 percent from the floor and made just 2-of-14 shots from behind the three-point arc. Matt Stainbrook did his part with 19 points and nine rebounds, but the rest of the team was a no-show.
Despite being the final team to make the field of 68, North Carolina State looked awfully good against XU. They will now have a quick turnaround and face No. 5 seed Saint Louis in the second round on Thursday night.
Albany 71, Mount St. Mary's 64
The Great Danes opened the game on a 21-2 run, but somehow found themselves only up by four points at halftime following a barrage of three pointers from Mount St. Mary's. The Mountaineers would attempt 37 threes in total and hit 12 of them.
Unfortunately for MSMU, this three-point attempt that somehow rimmed out in the final minute would prove to be the difference as Albany held on.
DJ Evans led the way for the Great Danes with 22 points and nine rebounds. Peter Hooley did a little bit of everything, scoring 20 points, bringing down four boards and dishing three assists. Gary Johnson had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
The win sets Albany up with top-seeded Florida in the second round. The Gators will be heavy, heavy favorites in this one, but make no mistake about it: the Danes accomplished their goal on Tuesday night. Anything else is just gravy.