Thursday, February 1, 2007

Greenberg praises thin Pack

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg wasn’t being unkind Wednesday night when he talked about N.C. State.
He was just telling the truth.

"They’re a good team that’s got good players," he said. "Not a lot of them. They’ve got six or seven good players."

The statistics from N.C. State’s 70-59 victory against 16th-ranked Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum illustrate the thinness of the Wolfpack’s roster. All five starters played at least 33 minutes.
Guard Bryan Nieman, with 14 minutes off the bench, was the only reserve to play more than five minutes. But point guard Engin Atsur’s return after missing 12 of 13 games with a hamstring injury better equips N.C. State to win despite its limited numbers.
Atsur can control the tempo to keep opponents from running the Wolfpack into the ground.

"My job is to calm them down," he said. "I’ve got the ball in my hands to control the game. We don’t have much experience, and I try to lead them."

N.C. State can be effective in a half-court game because its players are skilled on offense. Center Ben McCauley, who scored 20 against Virginia Tech, also hits cutters for easy baskets with passes from the block and high post. Forward Brandon Costner has good shooting range and made the biggest shot of Wednesday’s game with a 3-pointer to kill a Hokies rally.

"They’re a hard matchup because they’re very skilled up front," Greenberg said.

And they had just enough depth to get a road win against a ranked team.

Hokies’ swoon: Guard Jamon Gordon was so ill with the flu that Greenberg was surprised he played Wednesday night.

But Greenberg didn’t use that as an excuse. Virginia Tech (16-6, 6-2 ACC) had won six of its first seven conference games with tremendous effort and attention to detail.

The Hokies got none of that Wednesday. N.C. State’s 42-29 rebounding advantage demonstrated its superior effort.

"We’re not playing with McDonald’s All-Americans," Greenberg said. "We did not play with a sense of urgency offensively. We did not play with a sense of urgency defensively."

Big shot: Costner shot 2-for-8 from the field, but grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and made his only 3-pointer in the closing minutes after Virginia Tech cut an eight-point deficit to two.

"When he came down and hit that 3, you could hear the crowd calm down a little bit," N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said.
-- Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

I truly believe that Sidney Lowe will prove to be the NC State Messiah. . . He will usher in a new era of Wolfpack dominance, given a few years to work out the bugs!