Casey Morsell misses the big shot: But then, he took it
You wanted to think that Casey Morsell had had his breakout game way back before Thanksgiving when he had 19 points in a win over Arizona State.
Just one double-digit game since for the four-star stud recruit from D.C., a modest 10-point effort in the Dec. 29 win over Navy.
Heading into Monday night, the 6’5” freshman had gone scoreless in three of his last five, and had gotten just four minutes off the bench in the win at Georgia Tech on Saturday night.
Tomas Woldetensae got into early foul trouble Monday night, though, and Morsell had a chance to earn some floor time.
And made the most of it.
In 32 minutes off the bench, Morsell went 4-for-9 from the floor, including 1-of-3 from three, to go with five rebounds.
The night didn’t end like you’d want it to, obviously. Morsell rebounded a free-throw miss by State’s Devon Daniels, drove the ball up the court, and ultimately missed a contested three as time expired.
It was a scramble play, and you want to give Morsell credit for scrambling, even if the shot missed.
“I was trying to get it to Kihei [Clark] quick. I didn’t see him quick enough, and then I realized that time was running down, so I couldn’t look to pass,” Morsell said afterward. “There wasn’t that much time to make a play. I kind of tried to get downhill, but they built a defense which forced me to go opposite wing, and time was ticking, so I had to let it go.”
It missed, so, again, didn’t end the way you’d have wanted it to.
But the mindset from Morsell to take the game into his hands, you had to like that.
The 4-for-9 shooting, had to like that.
The outing reminded me of Jan. 29, 2017. UVA-Villanova. A kid named Ty Jerome, who to that point could claim a career-high of eight.
That afternoon, against the defending national champs, Jerome became Big Shot Ty, putting in 15 on 6-of-9 shooting in a, you remember it, 61-59 loss.
It was a Jerome runner with 17 seconds left that tied it before a Donte DiVincenzo tip-in at the buzzer won it for ‘Nova, but even in defeat, you had a star born.
Morsell missed the big shot tonight, but there has to be something said for the confidence that he had to take the shot.
This UVA team has been in desperate need of someone among the talented to be willing to take the big shot, after losing three guys – you know their names – from last year’s national-title team who were more than willing, in the tradition of guys like Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Anderson, Joe Harris, with the ice water in their veins from ‘Hoos teams past.
The old saying is that you miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.
This can be the kind of thing that Morsell can build from.
“There are definitely frustrating moments, when your shot is not falling, especially after working on it time and time again, and when you get to the game, and it doesn’t go your way,” Morsell said. “Today was a step in the right direction, and it’s feeling really good, the shot, and I’m starting to become more of an offensive threat, which will make our team better. With me not being a scoring threat, it kind of puts our offense in a hole. So, I feel like I need to get going much more than I have been.”
Story by Chris Graham