NC State opened the year with a relatively easy exhibition win, as the University of Guelph lacked the overall size and athleticism to challenge the Wolfpack.
Starting a frontline that measured in at 6-8, 6-9, and 6-10, NC State at times appeared to tower over the Gryphon players, but the Canadian college team scrapped until the very end.
Engin Atsur and Cameron Bennerman started at guard for the Wolfpack, while Ilian Evtimov, Andrew Brackman, and Cedric Simmons manned the frontcourt. NC State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but both teams struggled to score in the opening minutes as the Wolfpack missed open looks while Guelph simply couldn't do anything against NC State' stifling defense. In fact, the Gryphons went scoreless over the first eight minutes of the game, as Sebastian Kasiuk's three-pointer from the corner cut the Wolfpack's lead to 7-3.
Guelph's shooting woes continued for the entire first half, as the Gryphons hit 28% from the field on 7-of-25 shooting. However, six of the seven made field goals were 3-point attempts, as Guelph connected on 6-of-15 3-pointers in the opening half.
NC State shot much better, particularly in the paint. The Wolfpack connected on 11-of-24 first half field goals, 45% from the field, but made just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Wolfpack was also strong from the free throw line, hitting 13-of-15 attempts.
Brackman's seven points and four boards led NC State at the half, as Simmons chipped in six points and Gavin Grant added five.
The Pack held a 36-24 advantage at the break, and came out inspired to play tougher defense in the final half.
NC State opened the second half with a 9-0 spurt, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Ilian Evtimov, that put the game out of reach. Guelph couldn't get closer than 15 points in the final fifteen minutes.
Evtimov played all three frontcourt positions for the Wolfpack, as head coach Herb Sendek tried several different combinations throughout the contest.
NC State finished the night connecting on 45.8% from the field, hitting 11-of-24 shot attempts in both halves. The Wolfpack was particular impressive from the free throw line. Freshman Courtney Fells hit 4-of-4 free throws, and the Pack drilled 27-of-33 for the game, an impressive 81.8%.
Brackman led NC State with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks while Evtimov added 12 points and Gavin Grant chipped in 10. Fells finished the night with six points, including a high-flying dunk in the game's final minute, three assists, two rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Fellow freshmen Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner added nine and seven points respectively.
The Wolfpack will face Mt. Olive in a second exhibition game on November 11. NC State will begin its regular season with the three-day Hispanic College Fund Classic November 18-20 at the RBC Center. NC State will face Stetson, The Citadel and Delaware that weekend.