RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- An incredibly stingy defense. A nearly
perfect balance of scoring from the paint and the perimeter.
In short, another solid effort from North Carolina State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP).
The only surprising thing might have been the opponent.Cameron Bennerman led five players in double figures with 17
points, Cedric Simmons got his second career double-double and the
Wolfpack easily gave No. 12 George Washington its first loss of the
season, 79-58 on Friday night.Simmons had 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and point
guard Engin Atsur tied a career high with nine assists for N.C.
State (11-1), which gave coach Herb Sendek the best start of his
nine-year tenure. The best field goal percentage defense in
Division I held the Colonials (8-1) to 31 percent, by far their
worst effort of the season.Carl Elliott had 14 points for George Washington, and leading
scorer Danilo Pinnock finished with 11, about five points below his
average. Transfer Regis Koundjia, finally eligible after arriving
from LSU, had nine points before fouling out in his debut.Perhaps a 12-day layoff might explain part of the Colonials'
problems, but the Wolfpack did their part, too. It was their first
home victory over a ranked, non-conference opponent since Feb. 8,
1986, when they beat No. 16 Louisville 76-64 under coach Jim
Valvano.The Wolfpack held George Washington without a field goal for an
8½-minute stretch of the first half to take control, even while
their offense was struggling. Atsur's 3 gave N.C. State a 23-12
lead midway through the opening 20 minutes, then had his team's
next points on a layup about 5½ minutes later.But it hardly mattered since the Colonials couldn't find the
range, either.Elliott made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to seven, and it was
still there until Andrew Brackman swished a jumper from beyond the
arc after a nice pass from Atsur. Ilian Evtimov finished up the
scoring before the break with two free throws, putting the Wolfpack
ahead 34-22.It quickly got worse for George Washington in the second half.
Evtimov worked in the paint for one of his patented old-fashioned
hook shots, and Bennerman converted a nifty lob from Atsur into a
layup. On the other end, Pops Mensah-Bonsu finally got loose for
only his second basket of the game, but Colonials coach Karl Hobbs
thought there might have been a foul on the play, too.He protested vehemently and promptly got a technical, turning
the momentum over to N.C. State. Evtimov made both shots from the
line and Brackman worked inside to score, making it 50-32. The
margin reached 19 when Gavin Grant swished a 3 from the wing, and
George Washington could only get as close as 12 the rest of the
way.Atsur punctuated the surprisingly easy victory with another
3-pointer with 3½ minutes left to give the Wolfpack a 71-51 lead.