Evtimov, Atsur Lead NC State Past Florida State, 70-54
March 10, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ilian Evtimov had five 3-pointers in the first half and scored 18 points, helping North Carolina State hold off Florida State 70-54 Thursday in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Engin Atsur added 17 for the Wolfpack (18-12), who moved on to the quarterfinals and a rematch with Wake Forest.
Even though Crhis Paul won't be there Friday, the matchup is sure to be emotionally charged, particularly considering how the Demon Deacons won that game. Justin Gray hit a tying 3-pointer in the final minute, then Paul drove the length of the court in the final seconds for a runner to win it.
That loss dropped the Wolfpack to 7-9 in the ACC, so even their dominating victory over the Seminoles (12-19) likely won't be enough to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Hodge had 14 points and seven assists to help N.C State coach Herb Sendek improve to 12-8 in the ACC tournament. Point guard Tony Bethel left early in the second with an injury to his left leg, and his status for the rest of the season wasn't immediately clear.
Anthony Richardson led the Seminoles with 16, but leading scorer Von Wafer had only two, 10 below his average.
For Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, the outcome at the MCI Center probably took him back to his days as coach of the Washington Wizards. He went 19-63 in his first season, then resigned after a long meeting with then-boss Michael Jordan.
The Seminoles scored only 19 points in the first half - two more than their previous low - and shot 31 percent. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack took control, with Evtimov leading the way.
The 6-foot-7 forward is the perfect piece for their Princeton-style offense, a deft ball handler and passer who has tremendous shooting range. He swished a 3 about a minute into the game to give N.C. State the lead for good at 3-0, and he added four more during the rest of the half to tie the school record for 3-pointers in an ACC tournament game.
The Wolfpack stretched the margin to 24 points in the second half before the Seminoles used a furious rally to get to 59-51. Al Thornton capped the comeback with a putback before N.C. State finished off their fourth straight opening-round victory at the free throw line.