Friday, February 9, 2007

Wolfpack's exhaustion cost them at Georgia Tech

N.C. State’s resurgence flamed out Tuesday night in Atlanta because of exhaustion, coach Sidney Lowe said Friday.

The Wolfpack had won at 16th-ranked Virginia Tech and over third-ranked North Carolina and held a double-digit lead at Georgia Tech before faltering late in the game.

“We came out of the gates pretty good, with great energy,” Lowe said, “and I think it finally hit us in that second half at a point when we were tired, and a lot of the mistakes we made were mental mistakes.”

Going on the road for the third time in four games Saturday at Miami isn’t a cure for N.C. State’s fatigue, but playing early in the week gave the Wolfpack a much needed three straight days without a game.

Senior point guard Engin Atsur, who missed 12 games earlier in the season with a hamstring injury, is among those who needed the rest. The Wolfpack can’t afford to have him on the bench much during games because that forces Gavin Grant or Courtney Fells to move to the point from the wing.

That’s a double blow to N.C. State, which loses its best point guard and the production Grant or Fells would on the wing in those situations.

“He (Atsur) is really trying to get back into that shape again,” Lowe said, “and at the same time playing minutes against guys that are bumping him, and we have to be concerned about the injury itself.”

Freshman forward Dennis Horner also will be playing hurt Saturday. He suffered a severely bruised nose Tuesday, and N.C. State trainer Charlie Rozanski wants him to wear a protective mask when he plays.

Horner tried wearing the mask Thursday during practice. He didn’t like wearing it, according to Lowe.
I’m not going to promise you that if he gets in a game he isn’t going to throw it off,” Lowe said.

N.C. State is fortunate to play a team with similar depth problems. Miami dressed seven scholarship players for Boston College earlier in the week. The Wolfpack also has seven healthy scholarship players, counting Atsur and Horner.

-- Ken Tysiac