Monday, February 26, 2007

Lowe better, but not fully recovered

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe sounded tired Monday, five days after he was hospitalized for dehydration resulting from a flu-like ailment during the Wolfpack’s loss at North Carolina.
"I’m a little better," said Lowe, who returned to the bench Saturday at Florida State. "I’m still just trying to get through this process of the hot flashes and things of that nature. But other than that, I’m OK."
Lowe said a hospital visit from North Carolina coach Roy Williams made him realize that he has to take better care of himself. Williams routinely has taken a midday break for years to walk or jog.
He told Lowe that scheduling such a daily break would benefit him. Lowe said it’s easy for coaches to get into a rut and spend every waking hour working.
"It put things in perspective, and just made me take a look at things," Lowe said. "I’m certainly going to have to make some changes in how I’m doing things."
Other coaches, including the Charlotte Bobcats’ Bernie Bickerstaff and Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, also called to check up on Lowe. But Williams – who has known Lowe since he watched Lowe play in high school while recruiting for North Carolina – was especially kind.
Williams visited Lowe in the hospital after last week’s game and again the following morning, and called Lowe’s office to check on him.
"I really just appreciate his concern and his effort," Lowe said.
WRIGHT MOVE: Williams has removed freshman forward Brandan Wright from the lineup when North Carolina has had the lead in the closing minutes in some games because of Wright’s poor free throw shooting. But Williams kept Wright in the game for the Tar Heels’ final possession when they trailed by two Sunday at Maryland.
"We wanted his rebounding in there," Williams said Monday.
Wright is one of North Carolina’s best rebounders, and Williams wanted him crashing the boards if the play he called for another player resulted in a missed shot. But the play didn’t work, and the ball came to Wright, who was fouled in the act of shooting.
He missed the first free throw, then had to miss the second intentionally in hopes that North Carolina could rebound. When the Tar Heels couldn’t secure the rebound, the clock expired and Maryland won 89-87.
"He is a youngster who’s got to improve on that part of the game," Williams said of Wright, who is shooting 54.3 percent from the foul line.
Wright, who was 0-for-4 Sunday, isn’t the only player who needs to shoot free throws better. Alex Stepheson was 0-for-2, Ty Lawson 0-for-1 and Tyler Hansbrough 2-for-4 as North Carolina finished 8-for-17.
The Tar Heels’ free throw percentage of .702 ranks sixth in the ACC. But in each of their past two losses – against Maryland and Virginia Tech – their opponent has performed better in the closing minutes from the foul line.
That can’t happen if North Carolina is going to win close games.
"It wasn’t just Brandan," Williams said. "It’s just, that’s the one you always think about because it happens that late in the game."
-- Ken Tysiac