'Pack Cruises Past Cougars

Wolfpack guard Julius Hodge tallied 22 points and Tony Bethel added 15 as NC State cruised past BYU 72-61.

Hodge and the Wolfpack exploded out to a 9-0 lead early in the first half and never looked back as the Cougars struggled with NC State's relentless pressure. The 6'7 guard connected on 5-of-6 shots for 12 points in the half as NC State jumped out to a 40-18 halftime lead.

The Wolfpack was very impressive in the half, shooting 52% from the field while committing just one turnover. The defense was perhaps the key as they held BYU to 18 points on just 20% shooting.

BYU came out inspired in the second half and played much better, but it wasn't enough to come back against a solid NC State team. The Cougars never got closer than ten points, and strong play from Hodge, Tony Bethel, and Andrew Brackman kept the Wolfpack from ever allowing BYU a chance to make it a close game.

Brackman continued his strong play as the super freshman finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. He's averaging 15 points per game over his last four games as his minutes continue to increase.

Bethel, who hit just one of ten shots against Washington on Sunday night, added 15 points for the Wolfpack.

NC State did have its share of struggles, as the Wolfpack committed nine turnovers in the second half and connected on just 5-of-28 three-point attempts for the game. Despite these problems, NC State was able to come away with the victory due to stingy defense, tough scoring in the paint, and the ability to hit timely baskets.

Guard Mike Hall led BYU in scoring as the senior tallied 18 points on the night. He was joined in double figures by forward Jared Jensen who finished with 14 points. Sophomore guard Austin Ainge, the son of BYU great Danny Ainge, added nine points and eight assists for the Cougars.

NC State (9-1) now has a week off before playing in the Holiday Festival next Tuesday in New York City.

BYU (2-8) plays at Weber State Thursday night.

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