HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team outlasted Liberty in a double-overtime thriller to pick up a 77-72 win on Wednesday night at the Millis Center. Graduate-student Allan Chaney led the Panthers with 22 points and 12 rebounds, going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in overtime.
“You have to make plays to win close games like this and we made them tonight,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “Allan hit free throws and made shots down the stretch, John Brown had 18 points, we got contributions from guys like Justin Cheek and Branimir Mikulic off the bench. It was a total team effort.”
High Point found itself tied with Liberty at the end of the first half, at the end of regulation and the end of the first overtime period before outscoring the Flames 11-6 in the second overtime period. Chaney went a perfect 6-6 from the line in the final 2:12 of the game to help secure the win.
Chaney shot 7-for-12 from the floor and recorded his third double-double of the season. Brown also notched a double-double on the night with 18 points and 11 rebounds and freshman guard Adam Weary scored 10 points.
Tavares Speaks finished with 20 points for Liberty while John Caleb Sanders scored 19. JR Cornado led the Flames with 12 rebounds. Point guard Davon Marshall scored 11 points in a game-high 46 minutes.
High Point improved to 8-8 overall and 3-1 in the Big South with the win. Liberty fell to 5-13 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
The Panthers lead 8-7 in the early going, getting baskets from four different players while Speaks scored all seven points for Liberty. The next three baskets were three-pointers, two from High Point’s Branimir Mikulic and one from Liberty’s Marshall. High Point was able to pull its lead to seven points (21-14) when Wallace hit a trey and Chaney drained two free throws.
Speaks hit a jumper with 9:01 to go in the first half to spark an 11-2 run that gave the Flames a 25-23 lead with 4:19 to go. Sanders scored Liberty’s last seven points to end the first half with the teams tied 28 a piece.
Neither team was able to grab control of the game in the second half as the lead swung back-and-forth between the two sides six times with seven ties. The final tie of the second half came when High Point’s Weary drove the lane and connected on a layup from the left side to tie the game 58-58 with 49 seconds remaining. High Point got a defensive stop and had the ball with 30 seconds remaining, but Devante Wallace’s three-point attempt hit off the back of the rim to put the game into overtime.
High Point took a three-point lead in the first two minutes of overtime with a free-throw and putback layup from Brown before Liberty came back with four straight free throws to take a one point lead. It stayed within two for the remainder, the last two points coming on free throws from Liberty’s Marshall. The Panthers came close to pulling it out at the buzzer when Wallace tipped in a missed layup by Weary, but the shot was ruled off after an official review.
In the second overtime, HPU’s Brown scored the first basket to lift the Panthers into the lead for good. Chaney hit six free throws, putting the Panthers up 75-69 with a pair with 17 seconds remaining. Liberty’s Tomasz Gielo hit a three-pointer with seven seconds on the clock, but Chaney hit two more free throws on the next possession to ice it.
The win by High Point was its first in double-overtime since Feb. 15, 2011, when it picked up a 70-69 win over Winthrop. The Panthers entered the game first in the Big South Conference in opponent field-goal percentage and continued that trend, holding the Flames to just 33.3 percent shooting for the game and just 12.5 percent in overtime.
High Point returns to Big South action on Saturday when the team travels to Charleston, S.C., to take on the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern. Tip-off for the game is set at 5:30 p.m.