Manny Bates’ absence means NC State is having to adjust a lot more early in the season than it would like, but so far the adjusting is coming with wins.
In a tie game with less than 10 seconds left this afternoon, Dereon Seabron was fouled on a drive to the rim and calmly sank both free throws with two seconds remaining, pushing NC State past a tough Colgate squad.
NC State got off to a fast start from the field and kept Colgate at arm’s length for a good portion of the first half. The Wolfpack led by as many as 10, but the Raiders responded by picking up the outside shooting and went into the break down by one.
NC State again stretched its lead in the second half, but this game was tied with 10 minutes left and was a nail-biter the rest of the way. Some big plays down the stretch from Seabron and Casey Morsell, who were the stars of the afternoon for state, helped deliver this victory. Morsell hit a three with 4:19 to go that gave State a 65-64 lead, and Seabron then converted an old-fashioned three-point play to push that edge to 68-64 on the next possession.
Colgate would come right back, and the lead would change multiple times in the last three minutes. The Raiders tied the game at 74 on a corner three with 11 seconds left, which set up Seabron’s eventual heroics.
In a tight game, edging your opponent in a few areas can be the difference. While Colgate actually shot the ball better on account of all those threes, NC State was better on the glass, shot 17-21 at the free throw line, and turned the ball over just six times. Finishing +4 in turnover margin, as State did, can matter a lot in a game like this.
State had a decided edge in playmaking, as Seabron proved time and again on the way to 21 points and 10 rebounds. Casey Morsell finished with a game high 22 points, while Terquavion Smith and Cam Hayes also hit double figures. Seabron and Morsell carried the offense in this one, as Jericole Hellems was surprisingly ineffective. I don’t think State will survive too many more games like this from Hellems, but no harm done today.
The Pack is 2-0 on the young season, and next up is Central Connecticut State on Tuesday. Should be a little bit easier.