Jan. 16, 2005
By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Ilian Evtimov led a balanced attack with 17 points, including a clutch late 3-pointer, and North Carolina State beat No. 8 Georgia Tech 76-68 on Sunday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
Five players scored in double figures for the Wolfpack (11-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who hadn’t won since narrowly getting by Columbia last month. Cameron Bennerman finished 16 points, and Julius Hodge had 12 of his 14 in the second half, but Evtimov scored the biggest basket.
The Yellow Jackets (11-4, 2-2) scored 12 straight points to get to 64-61, and N.C. State patiently ran its Princeton-style offense until Evtimov got an open look from beyond the arc. He swished the jumper to increase the margin to six with 2:14 left, and the Wolfpack hung on from there.
With point guard Tony Bethel already on the sidelines with colitis, the Wolfpack didn’t have senior Levi Watkins (flu) for this one. That left them with eight scholarship players, and only seven played.
It was enough, thanks to Bennerman and freshmen Andrew Brackman and Gavin Grant. Brackman scored 12 points – including nine of the first 11 for N.C. State – and added six blocks, and Grant had a career-high 13 points.
Jarrett Jack had 16 points, and Isma’il Muhammad added 12 for Georgia Tech, which still missed guard B.J. Elder. He sat out his fourth straight game with a sore left hamstring, leaving the Yellow Jackets without their second-leading scorer.
Without him, they lost for the second time in five days during a trip to Tobacco Road. They were routed 91-69 at North Carolina earlier this week.
At least this one was a bit more competitive. After Hodge made two free throws to give N.C. State a 64-49 lead, Georgia Tech rallied, thanks to some heads-up coaching from Paul Hewitt.
Hodge got that chance at the line after drawing an offensive foul from Jack, and during a timeout minutes later, Hewitt lobbied hard with referees Reggie Cofer and Terry Moore that Hodge simply flopped.
It worked. On the next Wolfpack possession, Hodge fell out of bounds after a shove from Jack but no foul was called, giving the ball to the Yellow Jackets.
They took advantage of the opportunity, using that 12-0 run to get within three. Jack started the run with a playground maneuver, throwing an inbounds pass off the back of Jordan Collins and then scoring as he was fouled.
Muhammad followed with consecutive baskets, including a reverse dunk, to make it 64-61 before Evtimov made his 3.