Saturday , Feb , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Bennerman, Wolfpack hold on to defeat Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA (Sports Network) – Cameron Bennerman delivered 26 points and
21st-ranked North Carolina State withstood a late challenge from Virginia Tech
to earn a 70-64 victory at Cassell Coliseum.

Tony Bethel added 19 points and Engin Atsur finished with 14 for the Wolfpack
(21-5, 10-3 ACC), which nearly lost a 22-point second-half lead but held on
for its sixth win in seven games.

Coleman Collins scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and grabbed a
game-high 11 rebounds in the loss, Virginia Tech’s (13-12, 3-9) eighth in 11
outings.

The difference in this one came from beyond the three-point line, where the
Wolfpack buried 12-of-26 shots while the Hokies went just 1-of-12. Bethel made
six three-pointers in nine tries.

Bethel had 15 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting while Bennerman netted 14
during the opening period, as the duo led the Wolfpack to a decisive 43-25
advantage at intermission.

The Wolfpack held a slim 22-21 edge before embarking on a 13-2 run to extend
the margin to double digits. Bethel and Bennerman started things by knocking
down back-to-back three-pointers, and a trey from Atsur later capped the burst
and put the visitors up 35-23 with under 2 1/2 minutes prior to the break.

N.C. State hit 9-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc over the initial 20
minutes, while the Hokies shot just 27.8 percent overall for the half.

The Wolfpack were up 47-25 less than two minutes into the second half, but
Virginia Tech’s Deron Washington started a 9-0 burst with consecutive baskets
to cut the deficit to 13.

North Carolina State regrouped and grabbed a 56-38 lead after Atsur drained a
triple with just over 13 minutes left, but the Hokies did not go away.

Tech responded with an 11-3 run and moved within 59-49 on Collins’ layup off a
Jamon Gordon steal with 7:04 to go. After Bennerman scored on the other end,
the Hokies reeled off nine straight points to make things interesting.

Collins had the last five points of the run and trimmed the margin to 61-58
with a fastbreak dunk with 1:21 left. A transition layup by Gordon a minute
later made it a two-point game at 66-64.

Bennerman, who ended 10-of-10 from the free throw line, then hit two from the
stripe before the Hokies’ Wynton Witherspoon turned the ball over in the
closing seconds. Bennerman then made two more foul shots to account for the
final score.

The Wolfpack opened the game on a 10-0 run keyed by a pair of Bethel three-
pointers, but Virginia Tech later countered with an 11-2 burst and drew within
15-13 after A.D. Vassallo’s layup midway through the first half.

Game Notes

Gordon finished with 11 points while Zabian Dowdell had 10 for Virginia
Tech…N.C. State played without starting forward Ilian Evtimov, who injured
his foot in Wednesday’s win over Florida State and sat out the contest…The
Wolfpack have made 12 three-pointers or more in each of their last five
games…Virginia Tech fell to 0-6 against top 25 opponents this season, but
the losses have been by a combined 34 points.

NCSTATE VATECH