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NC State upsets second-seeded Syracuse in quarterfinals
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- T.J. Warren scored 28 points while Ralston Turner banked in the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 left to help North Carolina State upset No. 11 Syracuse 66-63 in Friday's quarterfinals at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
The seventh-seeded Wolfpack (21-12) blew a 10-point second-half lead but came through with two clutch baskets late to hold off the Orange (27-5).
Warren followed Turner's tiebreaking 3 with a jumper to make it 64-61, then hit two free throws with 24.6 seconds left to keep the Wolfpack up three.
Syracuse had one wild final possession, missing six shots - including four hurried 3-pointers from Tyler Ennis, Trevor Cooney and C.J. Fair - to ensure its first trip to the ACC tournament would be a one-and-done stop.
It was a huge win for N.C. State's NCAA tournament hopes and allowed to avenge a loss to the Orange last month on a last-second basket.
The Wolfpack will face the Clemson-Duke winner in Saturday's semifinals, marking the third time in as many seasons that N.C. State has reached Saturday at the ACC tournament under Mark Gottfried.
This win could help Gottfried also make it 3 for 3 when it comes to making the NCAAs, too.
Ennis scored 15 of his 21 points after halftime for Syracuse, which was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the country a month ago but has faded down the stretch. The tournament's No. 2 seed had lost four of six coming into Greensboro, though coach Jim Boeheim dismissed the suggestion that his team was in a slump.
That talk will probably grow louder with another loss heading into the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse shot just 33 percent, with leading scorer C.J. Fair scoring just nine points on 3-for-16 shooting.
Warren, the ACC's leading scorer and player of the year, finished 9 for 21 from the field but hit 10 of 12 free throws and grabbed eight rebounds. Fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg added 10 points for N.C. State, which led 28-25 at halftime then shot 52 percent after halftime.
The Wolfpack's win against reigning champion Miami in Thursday's second round set up the rematch the Orange, who was still atop the polls when they edged N.C. State 56-55 at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 15.
Syracuse won that after the Wolfpack committed a late turnover that led to Fair's winning layup with 6.7 seconds left. There was also a much-discussed call in which officials waved off a basket from Warren while being fouled with 13.6 seconds left because the foul came before the shot.
This one came down the stretch just like before, but the Wolfpack didn't let the lead slip away this time.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap