HPU Men’s Basketball Opens 2014-15 Friday vs. Bakersfield

Posted by Press Release on November 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HONOLULU – The High Point University men’s basketball team begins the 2014-15 regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 vs. Bakersfield in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. (EST) inside the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai’i. HighPointPanthers.com will provide streaming audio coverage of Friday’s regular season opener. Evan Lepler will have the call on the HPU radio network. Click the “Live Audio – MBB” link under the Fan Zone tab on HighPointPanthers.com to listen to Lepler’s call of the game.

HPU also will play Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov 15, 10 p.m.) and host Hawai’i (Nov. 18, 4:59 a.m.) as part of the Rainbow Classic. The game against the host Rainbow Warriors on Nov. 18 (4:59 a.m.) will be televised on ESPN2 as part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The game marks HPU’s first appearance on the “Deuce” since the 2004 Big South Tournament Final vs. Liberty.

HPU is 64-23 all-time in season openers, including an 8-7 mark in the Division I era. The Panthers are 6-3 all-time in neutral site openers, including a 1-2 Division I mark. HPU has won four of its last five season debuts.

The Panthers begin the regular season with six of their first seven games away from the Millis Center. HPU has not opened the season with that many road/neutral site contests since 2002-03, when HPU played its first eight contests away from the Millis Center.

Last time out, High Point registered an 89-66 exhibition victory over Piedmont on Nov. 8 inside the Millis Center. Sophomore forward Tarique Thompson notched 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead HPU while junior guard Adam Weary added 12 points (5-8 FG). HPU shot 48.2 percent from the field in the game and knocked down 29-of-38 attempts (.763) from the free throw line. Piedmont shot the ball well all night and made 15-of-27 (.556) field goal attempts in the second half. But the Panther defense was active all night and forced 20 turnovers by the Pride while registering nine steals. HPU held a 26-7 edge for points off turnovers in the contest.

The Panthers return 11 letter winners and all five starters from a 2013-14 squad that captured the Big South regular season title (12-4 league record) and earned the first NIT berth in program history. The team returns 85.5 percent of its scoring and 81.7 percent of its rebounding from a season ago.

Bakersfield was picked to finish fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media in the WAC preseason poll released in October. The Roadrunners return four of 13 letter winners and two starters from a 2013-14 squad that posted a 13-19 record, including a 5-11 mark in the WAC. Junior center Aly Ahmed is the team’s leading returner in both points (8.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg). CSUB opened 2014-15 with an 82-62 exhibition win over Whittier on Nov. 8. Redshirt-senior guard Javonte Maynor led the Roadrunners with 24 points (5-11 3pt FG) and four assists against the Poets.

Friday’s game will mark the first-ever matchup between High Point and Bakersfield in men’s basketball.

HPU is 2-0 all-time against current members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Both victories came over Utah Valley State. The Panthers defeated UVU, 75-51, on Jan. 3, 2005 in High Point and won in Orem (82-69) in the back half of the home-and-home series on Dec. 30, 2005.

HPU continues the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic against SWAC foe Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday (Nov. 15) at 10 p.m. The Panthers then wrap up the event against host Hawai’i on Tuesday (Nov. 18) at 4:59 a.m. The contest vs. the Rainbow Warriors will be broadcast live on ESPN2 as part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

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