Scores

Final

West Virginia 82

(10-0, 3-0 away)

(17) NC State 69

(10-3, 7-1 home)

    3:00 PM ET, January 2, 2005

    PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    WVU 43 3982
    #17NCST 36 3369

    Top Performers

    West Virginia: M. Gansey 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl

    North Carolina State: A. Brackman 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mountaineers latest to beat Wolfpack

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- After consecutive wins over ranked opponents, West Virginia hardly seems like just a football school these days.

    Johannes Herber and Mike Gansey each scored 15 points Sunday to lift West Virginia past North Carolina State 82-69, giving the Mountaineers their best start in more than 40 years.

    Patrick Beilein and Tyrone Sally each scored 11 points in a balanced effort by the Mountaineers, who improved to 10-0 for the first time since the 1959-60 season when Jerry West played for West Virginia. Six players scored in double figures and West Virginia shot 59 percent.

    Coach John Beilein said after the game that he would rather his team remain under the national radar, but he might not have a choice anymore. The Mountaineers defeated George Washington (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) last week, then followed by beating the Wolfpack (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) -- a team that had won 48 of 52 nonconference games in the RBC Center.

    That could add up to West Virginia's first appearance in The Associated Press' Top 25 since March 1998, which was the last year the Mountaineers reached the NCAA tournament.

    "A ranking would be nice," Gansey said. "But at the same time, it doesn't really matter I guess."

    Freshman Andrew Brackman scored 19 points in his first start for the Wolfpack (10-3), who played without leading scorer Julius Hodge. Hodge, last year's Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, was sidelined with a sprained right ankle suffered in last week's lopsided loss to St. John's.

    Wolfpack point guard Tony Bethel, who has battled flulike symptoms for a week, played 21 minutes and went scoreless for the third straight game.

    But considering the way the Mountaineers played, it might not have mattered.

    West Virginia shot the ball confidently from the start, played effective and physical defense and got out in transition to get several easy baskets. The Mountaineers led 43-36 at halftime, then hit 10 of their first 15 shots after the break to build a 14-point lead with about 7½ minutes left.

    West Virginia went 10-for-18 from 3-point range, and got several easy layups off backdoor cuts and crisp passing.

    The Mountaineers got contributions from just about everywhere. Gansey, a 6-foot-4 guard, led the team with 10 rebounds and four steals. Four players had at least three assists, five hit 3-pointers and D'or Fisher blocked six shots.

    "That is the story with this team," Beilein said. "We hit shots, play hard and know that we can win."

    After Sally's jumper from the right side put the Mountaineers up 69-55, the Wolfpack cut into the lead with a fadeaway jumper from Ilian Evtimov and four free throws from Brackman. That recharged a lethargic home crowd, but the surge wouldn't last.

    As they did all day, the Mountaineers patiently ran their motion offense to get good looks. It paid off with a jumper from Herber, then Gansey drove right by Cameron Bennerman for an easy layup to push the lead back to 73-61 with about 5 minutes left.

    "Everybody on this team can hit the open jumper, even a contested jumper," said Kevin Pittsnogle, who scored 10 points and hit two 3s. "If they've even got a second to get it off, it's going in almost every time. That shows how much confidence we have in our team."

    The Mountaineers used a 16-1 run late in the first half to go ahead to stay, getting three layups in transition and holding the Wolfpack without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes. Gansey had three layups and assisted on a jumper from Sally, while Herber closed the run with a 3-pointer for a 34-25 lead with 4:24 left before halftime.

    In the first half, 10 of West Virginia's 17 field goals were layups and the Mountaineers had 12 assists.

    The Wolfpack shot just 39 percent, and missed Hodge when it came to finding a go-to guy to hit a needed shot as the game slipped away.

    "Right now our team just seems real dull, real boring, and that's not our style," said Bennerman, who had five points on 2-for-9 shooting. "We don't have dull and boring players on this team. Defensively our intensity just wasn't there."

    It was hardly the way N.C. State wanted to follow a 63-45 loss to St. John's in the finals of the Holiday Festival in New York. The Wolfpack shot a school-record low 20 percent in that game, including 2-for-24 from 3-point range.

    Now the Wolfpack will have to find a way to recover from two disappointing losses before opening ACC play at Miami next weekend. And it's unclear whether Hodge will be ready to play by then.

    "We have to get healthy and then get better," N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. "Our guys are fully aware that we have to rise to the challenge."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    WVU
    NCST
    Points 82 69
    FG Made-Attempted 30-51 (.588) 24-61 (.393)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-18 (.556) 9-28 (.321)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-16 (.750) 12-14 (.857)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 11 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 16 9

    2004-05 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Jan 2, 2005 WVU 82, @NCST 69Recap