Lowe: Ferguson Might Start

RALEIGH, N.C. -- During his weekly press conference, NC State coach Sidney Lowe discussed tomorrow's matchup with Clemson, the latest on Trevor Ferguson, and much more with the media.

A banged-up N.C. State team will travel to Clemson Saturday to take on the No. 12 Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum. According to Lowe, all players practiced this week, though some for limited time, including redshirt junior Trevor Ferguson, who practiced with a pad on his hand this week after missing the Pack's last three games.

"Trevor will play," Lowe said. "He may start."

Courtney Fells, Tracy Smith, and Javi Gonzalez all practiced through soreness and injury this week, according to Lowe, as the team is "getting better" in terms of health, but not at full strength.

Farnold Degand will start at point guard, though Lowe said he os at about 85-90 percent full strength, particularly in his lateral movement. Freshman Julius Mays will back up Degand at point, though Lowe will try to work in Gonzalez as well, as all three guards have started at least two games this season.

"The number one thing is going to have to be our health," Lowe said. "That helps. That was the first setback in forcing us to have this situation where we have different guys in there starting. Had Farnold never got hurt, he would have been starting, going back to last year when he was playing well for us.

"Certainly you like to have some consistency in your rotation, but I have confidence in all three of these guys. If we have two of them that are healthy, we're going to be in good shape."

According to Lowe, the team is particularly motivated from its 66-68 loss at Florida last week, in a game that the players felt the Pack should have won.

"They took it very hard. Which, you know me, I like to see that. That tells you that one, they wanted it and two, that it hurts," Lowe said. "While it might sound bad, I want them to hurt because you want them to say to themselves that they don't want to have that feeling again after a ballgame. So during the game, you do everything you can not to walk in the locker room with that same feeling. It showed me that they certainly believe in themselves."

Lowe said the main difference in State's three losses, all of which were within five points, were turnovers. Valuing the ball will be the key for State heading into ACC play.

"A lot of these games are going to come down to the last two or three minutes. That's when you can't turn it over and you can't make a mistake defensively," Lowe said.

It's no surprise why Clemson is undefeated. The outside scoring tandem of Terrence Oglesby and K.C. Rivers will force the Pack to guard the perimeter, while big man Trevor Booker is making a name for himself in the post.

More importantly, Lowe said, the week off since playing Florida has given the Pack a chance to prepare for Clemson's aggressive traps and full court pressure.

"They're going to force you to make smart decisions," Lowe said. "We got the opportunity to go against that and go six-on-five, seven-on-five [in practice]. It basically shows our guys to stay poised and be patient."

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