Seton Hall 83

(11-6, 2-3 Big East)

(15) NC State 65

(15-4, 4-2 ACC)

7:00 PM ET, January 25, 2006

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 T
HALL 40 4383
#15NCST 27 3865

Top Performers

Seton Hall: K. Whitney 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

NC State: T. Bethel 15 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast

Seton Hall stuns NC State; Wolfpack lose first at home

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Seton Hall never got satisfied, not even when its lead continued to grow and the opponent got increasingly desperate.

Perhaps that pleased coach Louis Orr as much as anything about his Pirates' stunning 83-65 victory over North Carolina State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) on Wednesday night.

"Ideally, that's the kind of mentality you want your team to have," he said. "We challenged ourselves to take it to another level, not just to be content, and our guys did it as well as we've ever done it."

North Carolina State certainly could attest to that.

Donald Copeland had 22 points, Kelly Whitney added 17 and the Pirates handed the Wolfpack their first home loss of the season.

Jamar Nutter and Paul Gause each finished with 12 points for the Pirates (11-6), who dominated throughout in nearly every phase of the game. No advantage was as glaring as in rebounds -- at halftime, they led 40-27 on the scoreboard and had more offensive rebounds (10) than NC State totaled on both ends (eight).

"We didn't come in with the mind-set that we were going to blow them out; we came in thinking it was going to be a tougher game," Whitney said. "We had to be tougher, and I think we established that."

Tony Bethel had 15 points for NC State (15-4), while Ilian Evtimov and Cedric Simmons each scored 12.

"We stunk, we had an awful game," Evtimov said. "It's a complete embarrassment. We're going to have to come back from this and bounce back."

Seton Hall started the second half with a 14-3 run that was helped by a technical foul on Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek. He was incensed when referee Michael Stephens wouldn't call a palming violation on Copeland, and he also yelled at one of Stephens' cohorts, Karl Hess.

Hess quickly called the technical on Sendek, and coincidentally, Copeland converted both free throws. He then added a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Pirates a 54-30 lead.

"If we guard, we're a tough team to beat, because we're able to put points on the board," Copeland said. "Really, it just came down to us getting stops, and if they tried to make a run, we had to answer."

Later, when NC State's Cameron Bennerman missed an uncontested layup and Evtimov simply threw the ball away a couple trips later, Sendek could only smile ruefully. He had already tried getting his players going with a fiery lecture during one timeout in the first half, when his screams could be heard over the din of the crowd.

"It is a long season, and you must have the capacity to get back up off the mat and fight another day," Sendek said. "We certainly did not play very well, and that is obvious."

Nothing seemed to work, particularly with the Pirates' surprising efficiency on offense. They had lost three of their previous four games, and the lone victory required a stirring comeback against South Florida. Seton Hall trailed that one by 10 points with three minutes left before eventually winning in overtime.

There would be no such rally for the Wolfpack, despite some hopeless strategy down the stretch. With about 5½ minutes remaining, they relied almost exclusively on 3s and began fouling nearly every time the Pirates had the ball.

"You know they're going to throw stuff at you, they're going to try to trap, they're going press, they're going bring in a bunch of shooters," Whitney said. "You just have to be mentally focused to handle that."

The maneuver only delayed the inevitable. NC State could get within 14 points a couple times, and Seton Hall was left with its defining effort so far this season. The result sure looked a lot better than its previous trip to the state to face an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent -- in the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Pirates lost 93-40 to Duke.

"We moved on from that loss a long time ago," Copeland said. "It happened early on in the season, we're a different team now. We really forgot about it."

They jumped to leads of 15-4, 22-6 and 26-9 before NC State came to life a bit, but the final possession of the half embodied the Wolfpack's struggles. Seton Hall had a lineup featuring four guards and patiently worked for the final shot before Nutter missed.

But Brian Laing, a 6-foot-5 swingman, got inside for the rebound and put it back in moments before the buzzer to give the Pirates a 40-27 lead.

"They beat us with the dribble penetration and got easy shots, and when they did miss, we did not do a good job on the defensive glass," Sendek said. "We have to fight more and work harder on getting defensive rebounds."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 83 65
FG Made-Attempted 26-55 (.473) 21-56 (.375)
3P Made-Attempted 5-13 (.385) 8-30 (.267)
FT Made-Attempted 26-29 (.897) 15-20 (.750)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
Largest Lead 24 2

2005-06 Season

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