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Redshirt sophomore guard Dereon Seabron gets a foul call during the game versus the Elizabeth City State Vikings on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 in PNC Arena. Seabron scored 10 points and shot 4-6 against Elizabeth City State. The Wolfpack beat the Vikings 87-68.

The NC State men’s basketball team used a strong second half to win 65-57 at PNC Arena Sunday and avoid an upset against winless Texas Southern.

The Wolfpack (4-1) trailed by three points at halftime, but better shooting in the second half led to the win over the Tigers (0-5) NC State fans inside PNC Arena expected.

“I thought our team found a way to win a game when our offense wasn’t necessarily clicking,” said head coach Kevin Keatts.

Keatts followed up by saying he was very proud of his guys for holding Texas Southern to around 30% shooting. On the offensive end, leading NC State was redshirt sophomore guard Dereon Seabron with 21 points and 11 rebounds. This marked his fourth double-double of the season.

Sophomore guard Cam Hayes and senior forward Jericole Hellems were also in double figures scoring-wise for NC State with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“I didn’t want to settle today like I did the past couple games,” Hayes said. “I was a little more aggressive today.”

NC State’s offense started the game cold, shooting the ball poorly for a good portion of the first half. The Wolfpack used its defense to keep it in the game. Heavy ball pressure led to Texas Southern turnovers.

NC State found some rhythm in the latter portion of the first half, using a 9-0 run to gain some separation from the Tigers. Despite the cold streak, the Tigers clawed themselves back into the game making it a one-point game at the last media timeout of the first half.

Despite trailing for the majority of the first half, a late 3-pointer and an easy lay-in right before the buzzer gave Texas Southern a 31-28 lead going into the intermission.

NC State made just eight shots in the first half and shot an abysmal 29% as a team. 15 of the 28 points were fast break points for NC State, and in the half court offense it really struggled.

“I was disappointed, I don't want anybody to be tougher than us,” Keatts said. “I thought we got pushed around and we didn't make physical blockouts, and we didn’t finish our possessions.”

The only player in double figures at the break for the Wolfpack was Hellems with 10 points, with five of those coming from the charity stripe.

A big moment in the first few minutes of the second half was Hellems fouling out. Hellems picked up two quick fouls and on the latter was called for a technical foul afterwards for arguing.

Despite losing its star senior forward, NC State responded with a 10-0 run to take back the lead and the momentum of the game. The Wolfpack picked up the intensity on defense and ran in the open court to get open shots.

This run pushed the Wolfpack's lead to six points, but it got cold again shooting-wise. NC State went almost six minutes without making a shot from the field. A breakaway dunk by Seabron ended the cold streak and pushed NC State’s lead to five points with 6:19 left in the game.

Seabron took over the game when it mattered most as he was aggressive going to the basket. In a three-minute span of the ball game he had nine points, which pushed NC State’s lead to eight.

“I can get the board and push in transition,” Seabron said. “Then come down and make a right play whether it's me scoring or finding an open man.”

In the closing moments, the Wolfpack got the stops it needed and made free throws to avoid dropping its second game in a row.

NC State will be back in action after the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. against Louisiana Tech at PNC Arena. Follow @TechSports for live updates on Twitter.

Staff Writer

I’m Will Thornhill, a staff writer for the Technician’s sports department since March of 2019. I am in the class of 2022 at NC State, with a double-major in Sport Management and Communication Media.