Notebook: Former Wolfpacker Returns

No. 19/21 NC State (6-1) faces UNC-Asheville (1-4) tonight in another nonconference game for the Wolfpack.

The UNC Asheville game will mark the Wolfpack's last before beginning conference play against Miami on Sunday, December 18. NC State has won all 15 of its games against UNC Asheville and posts an all-time mark of 60-8 against the Big South Conference. NC State has faced the Bulldogs four times under Herb Sendek, winning those games by an average of 29 points.

UNC Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach is no stranger to the Wolfpack nation. Biedenbach is a former NC State player and coach.

A three-year starter for Everett Case and Press Maravich, Biedenbach was a two-time All-ACC performer (1966 and 1968) and helped lead the Wolfpack to three ACC Championship game appearances and one title.

Biedenbach spent nine years (1970-78) as an assistant coach under Norm Sloan, and was on the sidelines for the Wolfpack's national title run in 1974 and for three ACC championships. He returned to State from 1993-96 as an assistant under Les Robinson before taking the job at UNCA.

NC State currently ranks second in the ACC in scoring, averaging 83.7 points per game. Take away the Wolfpack's 42-point output at Iowa and that average goes up to 90.7 points per game.

NC State is outscoring its opponents by 20.7 points. One reason behind that prolific scoring is the Pack's 7.71 threepointers made per game - the secondhighest mark in the ACC.

After starting the same lineup in the first six games of the season, Herb Sendek switched it up for the Appalachian State contest.

In that game, Sendek went with experience, starting his three seniors: Tony Bethel, Cameron Bennerman and Ilian Evtimov, junior Engin Atsur and sophomore Cedric Simmons. It was the first start of the season for Bethel and Bennerman, although both started last season (Bethel 21 games, Bennerman 10 games).

The Wolfpack made its annual return to the "Big Barn" last Saturday, defeating Appalachian State, 92-68. The venerable Reynolds Coliseum served as the home of the Wolfpack from 1949-99 and was the site of 766 NC State basketball games, three Southern Conference Tournaments, 13 ACC Tournaments, eight NCAA regionals and varous NIT appearances.

The Wolfpack is now 4-0 in its annual ‘Heritage Game' in Reynolds, defeating NC A&T 101-63 in 2002-03, winning over Hartford, 78-49, in 2003-04 and defeating Liberty, 94-60, last season before this season's win.

The Wolfpack posted an overall record of 589-177 (.769) in the 50-year history of Reynolds Coliseum, and has added victories in the three seasons that it has played Heritage games there.

Herb Sendek boasted a successful tenure in Reynolds, whch was home of the Wolfpack during his first three seasons with the program. His teams posted a 39-17 (.696) mark in Reynolds, with a record of 29-3 (.906) in non-conference games (not including the Heritage games since the Pack has moved to the RBC Center).

Although NC State's 14.1 turnovers per game is the third-lowest in the ACC, the Pack has had trouble holding onto the ball in the last two contests. Against in the three-point loss at No. 14 Iowa, NC State had 24 miscues, while the team had 16 TOs in the win over Appalachian State. Heading into the Iowa contest, the Wolfpack was averaging just 11.8 turnovers per game.

Sophomore guard/forward Gavin Grant has really been struggling with his ball handling, turning the ball over 11 times in the last two games. Tony Bethel has had six turnovers in the past two games. Engin Atsür had five turnovers and no assistats at Iowa, but came back with six assists and no turnovers last weekend versus Appalachian State.


  • Last year NC State had just one player average in double-digits, but this year four players are in double-figures for the Wolfpack. Cedric Simmons leads the way, averaging 12.6 points per game. Ilian Evtimov is averaging 11.7 and Engin Atsur is averaging 10.1. Gavin Grant is averaging 10.0.

  • Pack freshman Courtney Fells had an efficient game against Appalachian State. The 6'5 guard scored eight points on 3-of-3 shooting in just six minutes of action. He also tallied a block and a steal.

  • Freshman Brandon Costner is sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture.

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