Wake Forest 82

(12-6, 1-4 ACC)

(14) NC State 92

(15-3, 4-2 ACC)

    4:00 PM ET, January 21, 2006

    PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    WAKE 45 3782
    #14NCST 40 5292

    Top Performers

    Wake Forest: E. Williams 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    NC State: C. Bennerman 26 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    No. 14 NC State rallies past Wake, still perfect at home

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Cameron Bennerman's varied skills were on full display for No. 14 North Carolina State. He scored almost at will, helped force Wake Forest's Justin Gray into a horrible shooting performance and even blocked a couple of shots while helping a teammate.

    All in a day's work, right?

    "I just wanted to win the game," Bennerman said.

    He did that, too.

    The senior guard made all 12 free throws on his way to a career-high 26 points, Engin Atsur tied a season high with 18 and N.C. State rallied to beat the Demon Deacons 92-82 on Saturday.

    Ilian Evtimov added 13 points for the Wolfpack (15-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who improved to 12-0 at home. They also avoided their first losing streak of the season after a loss at No. 1 Duke on Wednesday.

    "You get those feelings before a game that something's different," Bennerman said. "Definitely, we wanted to get a win, but I just wanted to play hard and get that taste out my mouth from Duke."

    In that one, N.C. State was outscored 16-3 down the stretch of a 13-point loss, but there were no such problems Saturday. The Wolfpack sprinted from the final tie at 64 and eventually increased the margin to 12 points in the final 60 seconds.

    "We're getting better, we learned our lesson," Evtimov said.

    Eric Williams had 19 points for the Deacons (12-6, 1-4), while teammate Michael Drum came off the bench for a career-high 18. But Justin Gray, who averaged 30 points over the previous three games, finished 5-for-22 from the field and had 14 points.

    "Justin Gray was guarded well, you have to give them credit for that," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "He's been shooting very well for us lately. He just missed some open ones."

    Gray's frustration was evident in the final minute, when he heaved his gum into the crowd and accidentally hit an N.C. State fan.

    "I want to win, I'm not here to get taunted by the crowd the whole night and then walk out with a loss," Gray said. "I was just mad at that point. It happens."

    Wake Forest led by 13 late in the first half before the Wolfpack rallied, with Bennerman getting a three-point play and Tony Bethel swishing a 3-pointer sandwiched around a layup by Evtimov. That cut the deficit to five at the break, and the final 20 minutes was close all the way.

    "We just had to get the margin sliced before the half, and we did some good things," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "When Tony hit that big 3 and cut the lead to five, that was huge for us."

    After three ties, N.C. State finally took its first lead at 60-58 when Bennerman converted a steal into an easy basket. The Deacons pulled even three more times before the Wolfpack took over, helped when Chris Ellis fouled out with nearly 6 minutes left.

    He started for the second consecutive game -- his first two of the season -- and contributed seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks before halftime. Each of his three baskets were acrobatic, high-energy dunks, including one right over Wolfpack center Cedric Simmons.

    But he played only 21 foul-plagued minutes, and his absence forced Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser to use essentially four guards. It worked out OK on offense, but N.C. State had little trouble scoring in the final minutes to pull away.

    "Right when they needed stops, we hit them between eyes with a layup," Evtimov said. "That's very tough to guard. It's very demoralizing."

    A nifty pass from Andrew Brackman allowed Atsur to score in close, giving the Wolfpack the lead for good at 66-64. Following a tip by Evtimov, Drum scored to bring Wake Forest within two for the final time.

    Atsur again got free for a layup, Brackman converted a pair of free throws and Bethel jumped in the passing lane for a steal and layup to make it 74-66.

    The Deacons only got as close as five the rest of the way, even with Gray continuing to look for his shot.

    "If you know me, you know that's my mentality," he said. "That's what I want to do."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 92
    FG Made-Attempted 29-72 (.403) 25-54 (.463)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-21 (.238) 5-19 (.263)
    FT Made-Attempted 19-25 (.760) 37-43 (.860)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 12

    2005-06 Season

    » Jan 21, 2006 @NCST 92, WAKE 82Recap
    Mar 4, 2006 @WAKE 76, NCST 63Recap
    Mar 10, 2006 WAKE 82, @NCST 71Recap