Brackman, Evtimov Shine In Red/White Game

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State head coach Herb Sendek had to be impressed with the effort of his players in the annual Red/White Game.

Playing without two potential starters, center Cedric Simmons and point guard Tony Bethel, the team showed the rust to be expected early in the season, but played hard.

"Those are two really good and important players for us that we didn't have today," Sendek said of Bethel and Simmons. "The good news is that both guys are making progress."

Red started the first half with Engin Atsur, Gavin Grant, and Courtney Fells at guard and Ilian Evtimov and Andrew Brackman in the frontcourt.

For White, Braxton Albritton, Cameron Bennerman, and Chris McCoy started at guard with freshmen post players Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner in the frontcourt. Junior college transfer Bryan Nieman was the lone reserve.

The game consisted of two 12-minute halves with players alternating teams in the second half.

With potentially three starters on Red, it was no surprise to see them win the first half, 24-14. Brackman led the way, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in 12 minutes of action. Atsur added eight points and two steals and Fells chipped in four points, one steal, and an assist.

White had balanced scoring, with Costner's six points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc leading the way. McCauley was active in the post, adding four points, three rebounds, and a steal while guarding Brackman on the defensive end.

During intermission, Grant and Brackman switched to White while Albritton and McCauley took their place on the red team. This change led to a closer half of play, but Red still came out on top, 21-16.

After being held scoreless in the first half by Costner, Ilian Evtimov exploded in the final period for 15 points and three rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting to lead Red. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound senior appeared much quicker and more athletic after shedding weight in the offseason. Evtimov started the half by hitting two fadeaway jumpers, and added a deep three-pointer from the corner. He even had a breakaway opportunity late in the half, but didn't dunk the ball, choosing the lay it up instead. Brackman, who trailed Evtimov on the play, was surprised he didn't go for the dunk.

"He can [dunk]... he should have tried," Brackman said. "Coach said don't foul him so I eased up."

McCauley added four points and two rebounds for Red and Fells was extremely active, chipping in two points, three rebounds, two blocks, and one steal. Sendek was impressed with the way his freshmen performed.

"Those guys did a nice job today," Sendek said. "So much of their progress is a function of what our older guys do. I think some of our older guys have done a terrific job in practice in helping them learn our system."

Cameron Bennerman paced White with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Brackman added five points and five rebounds.

Overall, the game was sloppy and the Wolfpack didn't have a good day shooting the basketball, but Sendek felt it was still a good environment for his team to practice in.

"As for our team, we're clearly not in midseason form, but it's really good to get out and play in front of people with officials," said Sendek. "I thought our fans were in midseason form there in the end. They didn't miss a beat there on the call on the sideline. It's good to see them fully prepared for the upcoming season."


  • Sendek said following the game that point guard Tony Bethel is expected to be back practicing around the first of November.

  • Sendek also stated that Cedric Simmons will be back in action early next week. The sophomore suffered a knee hyperextension in practice.

  • Gavin Grant played today with a hip pointer and Brandon Costner played despite having a sprained ankle.

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