N.C. State hangs with #3 Kansas in 80-74 loss in the Bahamas


NC State trio of Joiner, Morsell and Smith combined to score 57 points for NC State

Casey Morsell

PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS – The NC State men’s basketball team fell to reigning National Champion Kansas, 80-74, Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Pack’s trio of Jarkel JoinerCasey Morsell and Terquavion Smith combined to score 57 of NC State’s 74 points on Wednesday.

Morsell led the Pack with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-8 from downtown. It was the second 20+-point scoring performance of the season for Morsell and third of his career.

The Ft. Washington, Md., native has now connected on 14 of his last 21 three-pointers.

Smith scored 19 points and had a team-high three assists while Joiner scored 13 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes.

A driving lay-up by Smith brought the Pack within two, 33-31, with 1:29 left in the opening half, but third-ranked Kansas scored the final six points of the half to take its largest lead of the half with a 39-31 halftime advantage.

Morsell erased Kansas’ advantage by himself in the first two minutes of the second half, scoring the first eight points of the half to tie the game at 39 on a transition three-pointer.

The Jayhawks recovered and went on a 9-2 run to take a 58-49 lead with 11:14 to play, but the Pack again was up to the challenge as the Pack responded with a 12-3 run to tie the game at 61 on two Joiner free throws with 7:42 to play.

The game stayed within one possession under four minutes but the Pack went on a two minute drought from 3:42 to 1:26 in the second half which allowed Kansas to go on a 6-0 run to push its advantage back up to nine points and the Pack wouldn’t get closer than six the rest of the way.

Dusan Mahorcic finished the game with a team-best nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

Kansas was led by Gradey Dick who hit six three-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points.

NC State will return to action Thursday at 4 p.m. when it plays the loser of the opening round game between Dayton and Wisconsin. The game will be televised on ESPNEWS.