HPU Men’s Basketball Beats VMI, Takes Big South Lead

Posted by Press Release on February 27, 2014 at 6:33 am under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team led the entire way, holding off a second-half surge by VMI, to top the Keydets 70-67 on Wednesday evening at the Millis Center. The win gave HPU an 11-4 Big South record and sole possession of the conference lead with one game remaining.

“This was a huge win for us,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “We still have to focus and win one more game on Friday but we’re a game closer to winning the Big South regular season, which is a major goal for us. The team kept playing hard, we knew VMI was going to make a run in the second half. The last minute obviously didn’t go the way we planned it, but the guys made the plays in the end to get the win.”

High Point and VMI entered the game with identical records, HPU improving to 11-4 in league play while VMI dropped to 10-5. High Point improved to 15-13 overall and VMI fell to 17-11. The Panthers clinched a bye in the first round of the Big South Tournament with the win.

A High Point win over Campbell on Friday would deliver HPU its first outright Big South regular-season title and the league’s automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Redshirt-sophomore John Brown led all scorers with 17 points and had 10 rebounds and three assists in the win. He scored his 1,000th career point just before halftime, becoming the first player in Big South history to score 1,000 points before the end of his sophomore season. He finished the game with 1,015 points in 56 career games.

Senior forward D.J. Covington led VMI with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Rodney Glasgow and Tim Marshall each scored 15 points for the Keydets.

High Point scored on its first six possessions, getting out to a 13-3 lead that it would never relinquish. The Panthers led by at least six throughout the first half and scored the final two baskets to take a 39-25 lead into the break. Brown hit a fade-away jumper from the left side to score his 1,000th career point with 16 seconds left. A block by Devante Wallace on the other end gave HPU the ball back and freshman Jorge Perez-Laham took it in for a layup in the closing seconds.

HPU gained its largest lead of the game – 16 points – when Perez-Laham scored on a fast-break layup to make it 45-29 with 15:53 remaining. Two minutes later, back-to-back baskets by Brown – an alley-oop from Haiishen McIntyre and a jumper off a steal – made it 49-36. The Keydets fired back with three consecutive baskets, including treys by QJ Peterson and Marshall, to cut HPU’s lead to five.

Once 16 points, High Point’s lead nearly evaporated when Glasgow hit a jumper to make it 64-63, but an alley-oop dunk by Brown on the next possession took it back to three with 2:45 remaining. It was a one-point game in the closing seconds after VMI forced a turnover and Trey Chapman got a three-point play to make it 68-67, but Wallace hit two final free throws to preserve the 70-67 win.

Wallace finished with 16 points and freshman Anthony Lindauer scored 10. Perez-Laham had a game-high six assists to go along with his six points. VMI forced eight turnovers and scored 11 points off turnovers in the second half to make the comeback.

With 11 Big South wins, High Point is one away from its program record set last season, when HPU went 12-4, won the Big South North Division and shared the overall regular-season title with South Division champ Charleston Southern. HPU made its first Div. I postseason appearance last year, going to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

High Point hosts Campbell in its final regular season game on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Millis Center. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU, the Panthers’ second ESPNU game at the Millis Center this season.

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