Ga. Tech's Peacock suspended

Freshman must sit 1 game

flagrant foul called `act of fighting'

ACC notebook

January 10, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,SUN REPORTER

Last week it was Lewis Clinch, Georgia Tech's third-leading scorer.

Yesterday, starting forward Zach Peacock was suspended.

The Yellow Jackets (11-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have had some unexpected setbacks heading into tonight's 7 o'clock ESPN game against No. 11 Duke (13-2, 0-1).

Clinch was suspended Friday for the rest of the season for academic reasons.

Peacock, a freshman, was ejected from Saturday's 75-74 loss at Clemson. Game officials deemed his flagrant foul "an act of fighting," which results in an automatic suspension by the NCAA.

According to Section 19, Article 2 of the NCAA basketball rules book: "The first time an individual participates in a fight during the season (including exhibition games), the individual shall be suspended from participating in the team's next regular-season game."

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt expected the decision.

"I think the decision to remove Zach from the game was fair," Hewitt told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the Clemson game. "He's got to handle himself better than that."

Peacock, who started the first nine games of the season, reportedly threw his elbow into the face of freshman Trevor Booker. It was the 6-foot-8 Peacock, though, who was wearing the facemask during the game. He had suffered a fractured right cheekbone Dec. 30 against St. Francis (Pa).

Peacock played in all 13 games before his injury and averaged seven points and 3.2 rebounds.

Weary Wolfpack

One of the biggest challenges for first-year N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe has been providing a respite for the players in his depleted lineup, as four starters are averaging more than 30 minutes per game.

Lowe has had to rely primarily on a six-man rotation, especially with senior point guard Engin Atsur sidelined for nine games with a hamstring injury. Atsur returned in time for a physical game against Boston College.

Meanwhile, Gavin Grant is averaging a team-high 37.7 minutes, followed by Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, each of whom is playing 35 minutes per game. Courtney Fells has averaged 34.9 minutes. Lowe said it has had an effect on his team at practices and games.

"During games you're trying to use your timeouts, and that's a tough thing because you try to use those timeouts most of the time when a team is making a run or something like that," he said. "You're trying to change the momentum there, but when you have to use them to try to give guys a blow, that makes it tough. But that's what we have to do right now.

"The other side of it, as far as practice is concerned, you're trying to not go maybe as long or get guys out," he said. "But when you do that, then you don't allow the guys to get as many reps so they can stay sharp with things. It works on you on both ends."

Overexuberance?

For Virginia Tech, a 69-67 overtime upset of then-No. 5 Duke - the program's first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium - was reason to celebrate.

Or was it?

Zabian Dowdell, who had 20 points and five steals, told The Roanoke Times that after the game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski scolded him for celebrating.

"He just told me I'm too classy of a guy to be carrying on like that," said Dowdell, who reportedly bumped chests with a teammate and "popped his jersey in front of the Cameron Crazies," according to the Times.

On Monday's ACC teleconference, Roanoke Times reporter Mark Berman attempted to bring it up, but was interrupted by Krzyzewski - repeatedly.

"I understand you did speak to Zabian Dowdell about how he was celebrating," Berman started.

"No, no, I just congratulated him," Krzyzewski said. "I respect the heck out of him. He's a great kid and that's enough said. He was fabulous. That's the main message that was made."

"He said ... "

"That's all I'm going to say about it because I admire the kid and I admire the program and it was a [great] win for them and I'll say that forever."

"You ... "

"That's all I'm going to say about it," Krzyzewski said.

"What I say to players is always said with the greatest deal of respect because I respect our opponents immensely and the kids who are playing the game."

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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