Saturday, March 10, 2007

Atsur's health key to N.C. State's success

N.C. State point guard Engin Atsur looked OK.


If all you needed him to do was walk the ball up the court and deliver an entry pass to the post, Atsur was fine Saturday afternoon after re-injuring a hamstring that has bothered him all season.

Problem is, that’s not all the Wolfpack needed from Atsur, their senior leader, in the ACC tournament semifinals against Virginia Tech. As Atsur got healthier throughout the regular season, N.C. State began working the high screen and roll to perfection with teammates Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner.

When Atsur was able to drive the lane and explode to the basket for layups, he added a wrinkle off the pick and roll that he wasn’t able to provide as a lame-legged, standstill jump shooter.

That’s why N.C. State had given up most of an 11-point lead by the second media timeout of the second half, when Atsur was back on the bench.
"I just feel like everything is working now that Engin is healthy," Costner had said Friday night.

And when he wasn’t healthy Saturday, everything wasn’t working as well as the Wolfpack tried to continue their memorable run at the ACC tournament.

– Ken Tysiac