BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Cameron Bennerman saved the Wolfpack at
the free-throw line.
Bennerman matched his career high with 26 points and was
10-for-10 at the foul line. Eight of those free throws came in the
final minute as N.C. State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) held on for a 70-64 victory over
Virginia Tech on Saturday.
"When you go to the line with a sense of urgency, there's more
of an expectation to knock those free throws down," Bennerman
Tony Bethel added 19 points and had six 3-pointers, and Engin
Atsur scored 14 with four 3-pointers to help the Wolfpack (21-5,
10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).
"He was big for us down the stretch," Bethel said of
N.C. State led by as many as 22 points early in the second half
before Virginia Tech mounted a comeback. The Wolfpack hit their
last 3-pointer with 12:56 left, and they went the final 6:19
without a field goal as the Hokies made a furious run to get back
in it. They got within a possession several times, but each time
the Wolfpack held them off.
Collins, whose father died after a long illness Monday, left
after the game to go home to Stone Mountain, Ga., for a memorial
The Hokies finished 1-for-12 from 3-point territory.
The Wolfpack led the whole game, with Bennerman and Bethel
scoring the first 10 points as the Hokies missed their first eight
The Hokies got within one twice in the first half, but the
Wolfpack rode their 3-point shooting -- 9-for-16 in the half -- to a
21-4 run to lead 43-25 at halftime.
"I mean, it's as good as it gets," Hokies coach Seth Greenberg
said of the Wolfpack's 3-point shooting. "The No. 1 thing we
wanted to do was ... take away their 3-point shot. Obviously we
didn't do a good job with it, especially in the first half."
The Wolfpack led 47-25 early in the second half, but then Deron
Washington launched a 9-0 run for the Hokies with two straight
baskets. Washington's free throw with 12:39 left also started a
20-5 run for the Hokies, who made it 61-58 with 1:21 left.