Men's Basketball vs. Colgate -- Casey Morsell Shot

Junior guard Casey Morsell goes for a shot in the game against Colgate on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 in PNC Arena. Morsell gained 22 points in this game. NC State won 77-74.

The NC State men’s basketball team squeaked by the Colgate Raiders 77-74 for the team’s second win of the season on Saturday, Nov. 13 at PNC Arena.

The Wolfpack (2-0) led by just one at halftime and battled back and forth with the Raiders (1-1) in the second half. A pair of free throws by redshirt sophomore guard Dereon Seabron with two seconds left was the difference.

“We knew coming into this game that everybody was gonna have to play well,” said head coach Kevin Keatts. “Colgate is a really good basketball team. It’s a tournament team. I scheduled the game because I wanted our guys to be challenged early, and certainly we did get challenged.”

Seabron and junior guard Casey Morsell combined for 43 points to lead the team. Both did most of their damage in the second half and were the go-to options for the Pack down the stretch.

There were 12 lead changes in the second half alone with both teams trading buckets down the stretch. After a 3-pointer by Colgate tied up the game with 11 seconds to go, Seabron got the ball out of the timeout, drove hard to the basket and drew a foul before knocking down both of his free throws.

Seabron’s free throws with two seconds left in the game gave the Pack a 76-74 lead. Sophomore forward Ebenezer Dowuona’s free throw extended that lead for the three-point margin of victory.

“I just felt like I had to get to the rim,” Seabron said. “Either I was going to finish it or get fouled. I knew if I got fouled, I had the confidence to go and knock down the free throws.”

The Pack finished shooting 49% from the field compared to 45% from Colgate, but the Raiders' 12 made three-pointers kept them in the game. Another difference-maker was the battle on the boards as NC State outrebounded Colgate 32-28.

NC State led by as many as 10 in the first half and looked at one point as though it was on its way to any easy win, but that was far from the case. Colgate, who made the NCAA Tournament last season, hung tough.

Coach Keatts was not happy with his team giving up easy baskets in the first half but was thoroughly impressed with how his team played down the stretch. He knows a game against a quality nonconference opponent will go a long way in preparing this young team for the ACC.

“I thought we did a great job in the second half taking away easy baskets,” Keatts said. “Every possession matters. That’s on the offensive end and on the defensive end. You have to lock in. You have to get stops. You have to execute. That was a ball game that came down to the last four minutes. Our guys found a way to win the four-minute stretch.”

The team was dealt devastating news a day ago when it found out that redshirt junior forward Manny Bates would miss the remainder of the season. However, this win shows the team has a lot of grit, and it has players that can step up when called upon.

“This team is tough,” Morsell said. “We’re still trying to figure things out, especially with Manny going out and guys having to step up and play. We're just constantly trying to adjust and see what works, but at the end of the day, we found a way.”

Next up, the Pack travels to Connecticut for the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase on Tuesday, Nov. 16 and Wednesday, Nov. 17, taking on Central Connecticut and Oklahoma State, respectively. Both those games will begin at 8 p.m., with the first game being broadcast on FloSports and the second being broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

Senior Sports Writer

I'm Ben Ellis. I am in the NC State Class of 2023 majoring in history. I've been writing for Technician since November of 2019.

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Hello my name is Jonathon Eigenmann, I go be he/his/him. I am from Concord, North Carolina currently majoring in Communication with a concentration in Media and Minoring in Chinese. My anticipated graduation year is fall 2021.