February 21, 2006
by Andrew Kinney, Senior Staff Writer (Collegiate Times)
The men's basketball team lost yet another conference game Saturday afternoon, falling short by six to No. 21 North Carolina State University, yet the way in which it was beaten by the Wolfpack certainly shouldn't have surprised anyone.
Coming into the matchup as the second best three-point shooting team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, N.C. State was able to use its arsenal of accurate long-range shooters to beat the Hokies from behind the arc. In fact, of the Wolfpack's 23 scored baskets, 12 of them were three-pointers, which in the end accounted for more than half of the team's 70 total points.
On the day, N.C. State made 46 percent of its attempts from long-distance, including a 56 percent three-point shooting effort during the first half. To further emphasize how successful the Wolfpack was from deep, the Hokies shot a dismal 8 percent from three-point range on a lackluster 1-for-12 effort. However, N.C. State's success from beyond the arc was not something out of the ordinary for the Wolfpack. On the season, they've made at least 10 three-point baskets in 16 of its 26 games, while Tech has managed to attain this feat only once.
Reflecting on the loss, Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said it best when addressing the obvious manner in which the Hokies failed in handling N.C. State's long-range threat.
"The number one thing we wanted to do was take away their three-point shots," said Greenberg. "That was a priority for us the past three days [in practice]. Obviously, we didn't do a very good job of it."
Throughout much of the night, the N.C. State long-range attack was led by shooting guard Tony Bethel. The 6-foot-1-inch senior, who came into the game as the team's most accurate three-point shooter, nailed a total of five three-pointers in the first half alone, and ended the night having made a career-high six three-point baskets, shooting a stellar 67 percent from behind the arc.
"My teammates were able to find me, passing the ball to me when I was open," said Bethel. "I was able to keep my shots on target and I got hot for a while. I felt like I could have hit 30 (threes)."
Also contributing to the Wolfpack's success from three-point range was N.C. State guard Engin Atsur. The 6-foot-4-inch junior out of Istanbul, Turkey poured in his fair share of baskets from downtown, making four of his six attempts, finishing the game with a total of 14 points.
Rounding out N.C. State's efforts from behind the arc was the shooting of senior small forward Cameron Bennerman, who led all scorers with 26 points. Despite shooting only 2-for-9 from long-range, his two three-pointers were the difference in the final score, and his overall presence around the three-point-arc demanded respect from the Hokies, opening things up inside for the Wolfpack.
"Today we shot real good," said Bennerman. "I think though, that we've shot better. We missed some open shots there in the second half, but overall we really took it to 'em."
When asked about the trio's overall shooting effort, Bethel reiterated the fact of how he and his teammates have stepped up and have enjoyed success all year.
"We've been shooting the ball pretty well from deep," said Bethel. "You know, that's a big part of our offense. We practice that, and with Cedric (Simmons) being down low, and Cam (Bennerman) posting, a lot of teams' defenses have to collapse to the post and it creates open shots for the guys outside . . . It makes it hard for our opponents, night in, night out. Tonight we got a lot of good looks, and were able to just knock 'em down."