Feb. 15, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Engin Atsur had five of North Carolina State’s 13 3-pointers and scored 19 points to help the 21st-ranked Wolfpack avoid their first losing streak of the season with an 86-64 victory over Florida State on Wednesday night.
It was the third straight game with at least 12 3s for N.C. State (20-5, 9-3), which solidified its hold on second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind Duke (12-0). Cedric Simmons had 14 points, Tony Bethel added 13 and Cameron Bennerman and Andrew Brackman each scored 12 in another balanced effort for the Wolfpack.
Forward Ilian Evtimov didn’t play in the second half because of a sprained foot, but he hardly was missed. The Wolfpack made a season-high 15 shots 3s five games ago against Clemson, and after hitting only seven in the next game, they have 49 in the past four.
Bennerman had three, while Bethel and Evtimov each made two.
N.C. State led 29-27 late in the first half before taking control. And, yes, most of the damage was done from long range. Atsur and Brackman made consecutive 3s before Atsur capped a 16-0 run with another one, and the margin had ballooned to 18 points.
Freshman Courtney Fells had a surprising contribution, too. He hadn’t even gotten off the bench in eight of the previous 10 games, yet found himself on the court for a brilliant 3-minute stretch as the Wolfpack pulled away. He scored inside, got a steal on the other end, then followed up a miss by Bethel that led to a three-point play.
That made it 40-27, and Florida State made only a brief rally after halftime. It was aided greatly by a technical foul on Atsur, normally one of the most levelheaded players in the conference. But after he had a turnover, he quickly was called for a foul, and he apparently said something referee Jamie Luckie didn’t appreciate.
Ralph Mims converted both free throws to cut the lead to 58-38, and the Seminoles eventually got within 15 midway through the second half. Atsur helped N.C. State stretch it again with another 3, and Bennerman drove end-to-end for a three-point play.