RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina State Wolfpack ran their
scheme to perfection, getting open looks and sharing the basketball
better than ever.
What a difference 10 days make.
Andrew Brackman came off the bench for the first time this
season and scored 16 points, helping N.C. State (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) run away
from Appalachian State 92-68 Saturday in historic Reynolds
The Wolfpack (6-1) played for the first time since Nov. 30
thanks to a break for exams, and the time off appeared to
rejuvenate their Princeton-style offense. In their previous game,
they lost 45-42 at Iowa, where they had only 17 baskets and shot 34
"I think people look at 42 points and think the offense we run
is bad," N.C. State forward Ilian Evtimov said. "No, that's not
it. We executed poorly. We really focused on running our offense
and moving the ball."
It sure looked that way. The Wolfpack shot 67 percent --
including 75 percent in the second half -- and finished with 20
assists. Point guard Engin Atsur led the way with six, and three
other players had at least three to come up two short of a season
high in assists.
"When you share, that's when shots come in rhythm," coach Herb
Sendek said. "Those are the shots you shoot for a high
Cameron Bennerman added 13 points and Evtimov and Gavin Grant
had 11 apiece for the Wolfpack, who had some early rustiness before
recovering to pull away with an 11-0 run midway through the second
"You can't really prepare for their offense," Appalachian
State guard Nathan Cranford said. "They have so many reads and so
many options. They ran it well today."
For the fourth straight season, N.C. State returned to its "Big
Barn" on campus for what has been dubbed the Heritage Game, and
all four victories have been lopsided. The Wolfpack improved to
593-177 in the arena.
"It's an honor to play here," Bennerman said. "N.C. State has
a lot of history behind it. Sometimes, I come by here and just
shoot by myself. There's a lot of history here, and I take that
The Mountaineers (3-5) continued a brutal road trip that began
earlier this week at Tennessee. They also will visit Marshall and
Arkansas-Little Rock before traveling to Duquesne for a tournament
that ends on New Year's Eve.
Cranford had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, for
Appalachian State. He swished one early in the second half to bring
the Mountaineers within 43-35, and the margin was 16 when N.C.
State took control with a brilliant 2-minute stretch.
Grant made three free throws spread over two possessions, and
Bennerman got loose for a dunk on a nifty backdoor pass from
Evtimov. After D.J. Thompson missed a layup on the other end,
Evtimov connected on a deep 3, and Bennerman added one of his own
following another miss by the Mountaineers.
That made it 73-46, removing any doubt about the outcome.
"We know when we play together, we are going to score a lot of
points," Evtimov said.
Sendek shook up his lineup, giving seniors Bennerman and Tony
Bethel their first starts of the season. Bennerman made the most of
his opportunity and finished with a season-high in points, but
Bethel limped off a couple of times with leg cramps.
Appalachian State came in averaging nearly 11 3-pointers a game,
but was held to only six, its lowest total of the year.
"It's hard to fight from behind," coach Houston Fancher said.
"We had our chances. I was proud of the way the kids competed."