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December 28, 2005
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Ilian Evtimov had 11 points for the Wolfpack (10-1), who tuned up for Friday's game with No. 12 George Washington with their fifth straight victory.
This one got ugly from the start for the Wildcats (2-10). Jamaal Caterina was called for a foul just seven seconds after the opening tip while trying to guard N.C. State center Cedric Simmons in the paint. Another whistle against Caterina about 2 1/2 minutes later - again while matched up against Simmons - sent him to the bench.
And leading scorer Blagoj Janev finished with only seven points, about half his average. He didn't take his first shot until 8 minutes were left in the opening half, and he got his first points on a pair of free throws early in the second half. In fact, all but three of his points came at the line.
It's been that kind of year for New Hampshire and first-year coach Bill Herrion. He spent the previous six seasons at East Carolina - about a 90-minute ride from Raleigh - before getting fired, and he decided to take on the task of rebuilding one of the worst programs in Division I.
The Wildcats have had two winning seasons in the past 21 years and never have been to the NCAA tournament or the NIT. With their seventh loss in eight games, they likely won't end that drought this year.
Of course, none of that really mattered to the Wolfpack. They methodically went about their business and got another their lopsided victory to improve to 8-0 at home.
N.C. State pulled away mostly from the perimeter, and even when the shots weren't falling, someone often was there for an offensive rebound. In the first half alone, the Wolfpack shot 8-of-16 from beyond the arc and 16-for-32 overall. Of those 16 misses, 10 were corralled by one of their players.
One stretch was particularly damaging to New Hampshire. With the score 22-9, Atsur sandwiched a couple of 3s around an inside basket by Simmons, and Cameron Bennerman added two of his own to give the Wolfpack a 39-18 lead.
They hardly were done, thanks to some brilliant unselfishness best highlighted with one sequence a few minutes later. On one fast break, all five players touched the ball and passed to a teammate without dribbling, with Tony Bethel taking an open 3-pointer.
He missed, but Grant was there for the offensive rebound and turned the opportunity into two free throws. In all, N.C. State finished with 20 assists and only five turnovers, easily its best ratio of the season.
Chris Vetrano had 14 of his 17 points in the second half for New Hampshire.For more coverage of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, check out TheWolfpacker.com.