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    Atsur Out For Cincinnati



    RALEIGH, NC -- NC State men’s basketball coach Sidney Lowe may get a few early Christmas gifts before Monday, but one of them won’t be the return of his point guard. Injured early in the Wolfpack’s November 27th victory over Michigan, Engin Atsur will miss his sixth consecutive game Saturday when the Pack (7-3) travels to Cincinnati.


    “I spoke with doc this morning and he’s not going to be ready for Saturday,” Lowe said on Thursday. “It’s a wait and see right now. We’re just waiting to see what doc says and when he feels he’s ready to go or when Engin feels he’s ready to go more importantly. Right now I have no idea.”


    The injury, a pulled hamstring, has prevented Atsur from doing anything of substance in practice for more than three weeks. During NC State’s 82-75 loss to 10th ranked Alabama, Atsur sat on the bench wearing a shirt and tie, which has been his wardrobe during games ever since the injury occurred.


    Before leaving the line-up, the senior from Istanbul, Turkey was averaging 13.8 points, 4.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds. He was also shooting 43.5 percent from the 3-point line. Atsur’s long-range accuracy has been missed, considering NC State ranks 11th in the 12-team ACC in 3-point shooting (31.5 percent). Against the Crimson Tide, the Pack shot 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from the arc.


    His statistics aside, Atsur’s senior leadership and overall toughness have also been missed, not to mention the fact that he’s been replaced at the point guard spot by wing forward Gavin Grant. While he’s done a respectable job of playing out of position, Grant has been forced to give up some of the things he does well, namely scoring and rebounding, to concentrate on running the team.


    One of the silver linings that came out of Wednesday’s game against Alabama was the performance of guard Trevor Ferguson, who made his first appearance in a Wolfpack uniform after sitting out a year following his transfer from Pittsburgh. Playing with energy on both ends of the floor, Ferguson was one of the sparks that helped NC State cut Alabama’s lead from 23 to six points over the last seven minutes. The 6-5 redshirt freshman from Palm Harbor, Florida finished with three points, five assists and two rebounds in 23 minutes.


    “He gives us another shooter and he gives us another guy that works hard,” Lowe said. “I know he wants to be in there; he’s anxious to play. He came out with great energy. Just watching the film, he knew exactly what he was supposed to be doing defensively. He didn’t make one mistake on the defensive end. We’re looking forward to him being in that rotation. I feel very, very confident with him and I think he’s going to do well with us. He’s definitely going to be in the rotation and there are times when he’s going to play more minutes than some other guys.”


    NC State’s game at Cincinnati (7-3) on Saturday will begin at noon. Coverage on the Wolfpack Sports Network will begin at 11:30 a.m.



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