Pack Tames Wildcats In 19-Point Runaway

Using a balanced offensive attack that placed five players in double-figures, the Pack jumped on New Hampshire early and cruised to an 81-62 victory tonight at the RBC Center. Engin Atsur drilled five three-pointers to pace NC State with 15 points, while the Wolfpack offensive committed just five turnovers—compared to 21 assists.

Andrew Brackman (14 points), Ilian Evtimov (11), Cameron Bennerman (10) and Cedric Simmons (10) also reached double-digits in scoring. Gavin Grant put together a terrific all-around performance, notching nine points, seven boards and five assists without a turnover. Simmons also corralled seven rebounds, while Atsur dished out five assists as well.

State reeled off the first nine points of the game, but New Hampshire countered to cut the lead to 11-7. The Pack then scored 17 of the game's next 21 points on its way to opening up a 44-18 lead at intermission. NC State repeatedly posted up New Hampshire's smaller guards, Chris Vetrano (5-8) and Jermaine Henderson (6-1), to great success on the interior. The Wolfpack shot 50 percent (16-32) from the floor in the first half while holding the visitors to just 34.8 percent (8-23).

Vetrano and Henderson got their revenge in the final 20 minutes, however. Vetrano drilled all five of his three-point attempts in the second half, on his way to 20 points, while Henderson added 13 for the contest. New Hampshire actually outscored the Pack, 44-37, in the second stanza, shooting 53.6 percent (15-28) from the field and 56.3 percent (9-16) from beyond the arc. Coach Herb Sendek let his team have it following the contest, but also made sure to credit the Wildcats with terrific ball movement in the second half.

To be fair, human nature allows for some letup when there is a 32-point lead, and 10 different NC State players scored in the contest. Freshman Ben McCauley (two points, three assists, one rebounds, one blocked shot, no turnovers) played the second-most minutes of his career with 16, while classmate Courtney Fells (two points, one assist, no turnovers) saw the third-most minutes of his career with 13.

State now has just one game to prepare for a rugged George Washington team, which visits on Friday. Sendek agreed to move the contest up a day so Pack fans could watch the Wolfpack football team tangle with South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, December 31. The George Washington game will begin at 7 p.m. and air on FSNS.

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