• Trailing by one with eight seconds to play, the Panthers won the game on a lay-in by Tarique Thompson as time expired
• Senior Devante Wallace posted a career-best 32 points (7-11 3pt FG), including two late triples to send the game into overtime No. 4
• The 4OT marathon marked the longest game in the HPU Division I era and featured an incredible 29 ties and 24 lead changes.
HONOLULU – In one of the most exhilarating and improbable games you will ever see to begin a season, the High Point University men’s basketball team outlasted Bakersfield in a four-overtime classic (100-99) Friday evening to kick off the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.
The Panthers faced deficits late in each of the four overtime sessions but had different players step up and hit big shots throughout the night. Trailing by a point (99-98) with eight seconds to play in the fourth overtime period, redshirt-senior Brian Richardson stole the ensuing CSUB inbounds pass and found sophomore forward Tarique Thompson under the basket for a score to send HPU home with a 100-99 win.
The 4OT marathon marked was the longest game in the HPU Division I era and featured an incredible 29 ties and 24 lead changes. Of the 60 total minutes in the 4OT game, the contest was tied for a remarkable 18 minutes and 57 seconds.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this – our kids are so resilient,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We were down in every overtime and our kids just kept fighting. In every huddle we had, they were confident they were going to win. I’m so happy for our guys.”
Senior guard Devante Wallace exploded for a career-high 32 points (11-17 FG) on the night and connected on 7-of-11 3-point attempts to lead HPU. The Baltimore, Md., native hit 4-of-6 triples in the overtime sessions, including two huge 3-pointers to keep HPU alive late in overtime No. 3.
“Our team showed a lot of toughness. This was a great win that showed we have a lot of heart,” Wallace said. “We can celebrate for a bit, but we need to focus on Arkansas-Pine Bluff and put forth the same effort tomorrow.”
Thompson added a career-best 19 points and seven rebounds in 46 minutes of action, while Richardson added 16 points (5-10 FG) in his HPU debut.
Junior guard Adam Weary chipped in 11 points and a team-high five assists in 45 minutes on the floor. Freshman forward K.J. James came up with some huge plays in his first collegiate game, including the rebound and basket that sent the game into overtime No. 2. He finished with eight points and five rebounds in 36 minutes while holding his own aganst CSUB’s talented 6-foot-9-inch big man, Aly Ahmed.
The Panthers shot 49.3 percent from the field in the game, but made a critical 60 percent (12-20) of their shots in the overtime sessions while limiting CSUB to 42.3 percent (11-26). The strong shooting performance late helped the Panthers overcome a 56.3 percent (18-32) night from the free throw line.
The Roadrunners held a 54-32 edge in points in the paint for the game, but HPU forced 20 Bakersfield miscues that led to a 23-6 edge in points off turnovers for the night.
Bakersfield jumped out to a 12-6 lead before HPU used a 7-0 run to take a 16-14 lead at the 7:47 mark of the first half. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the period, with HPU going up 20-18 on a push shot from Weary with 3:33 to play in the half. HPU and CSUB entered the break tied at 22-22.
HPU and Bakersfield both opened the second half 4-of-5 from the field and played to a 31-31 tie at the 16:57 mark of the frame. A 3-pointer from Wallace put HPU up 41-38 with 13:59 to play in the half, but CSUB raced back to take a 51-49 lead with seven minutes to play in the contest. The Roadrunners moved in front by five (56-51) on a 3-pointer by Cortez Conners, but the Panthers used a 6-0 run to push ahead by one (58-57) on a 3-pointer from Richardson.
The Roadrunners stormed back with a triple of their own to go up 60-58, but late free throws from Wallace tied the game at 60, and HPU held off CSUB at the buzzer to send the game into overtime No. 1.
The Panthers led 65-64 with 2:20 to go in the first overtime session after a jumper from Weary, but a quick bucket fro Ahmed Aly with 21 seconds to go gave CSUB a 68-66 lead. At that point, the Panthers brought the ball up the court for a final possession. Weary’s shot was blocked with two seconds to go, but James got a huge rebound and put it back up and in to send the game into overtime No. 2 tied at 68.
CSUB raced out to a 74-70 lead with 3:02 to play in the second overtime session, but James made a free throw with 1:49 to go. Then after forcing a turnover, Weary found Wallace for a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game at 74-74 with 1:15 remaining. Neither team could put the ball in the basket for the remainder of the second overtime session and the two teams played on to a third overtime.
Wallace completed a 3-point play to put HPU up 79-78 with 2:53 to play in the third OT period, but CSUB nailed a jumper, then completed a 3-point play to take a four-point lead (85-81) with just 44 seconds to play. But the Panthers just wouldn’t quit, as Wallace hit a 3-pointer to pull HPU within one (85-84). Then, after the Roadrunners hit two free throws with 23 seconds to go, Wallace connected on yet another triple to tie the game with 11 seconds to play. The Panthers forced a missed 3-pointer from CSUB’s Tyrell Corbin as time ran out, and overtime No. 4 became a reality.
Wallace nailed a triple early in 4OT to put HPU up 90-87 and the Panthers led 95-92 with 1:54 to go after free throws from Thompson. But a jumper from CSUB’s Dashawn Richmond and a 3-pointer from Javonte Maynor on the ensuing possession propelled Bakersfield back in front, 97-95, with 52 seconds to play. After a pair of empty possessions with CSUB leading 99-96, junior Haiishen McIntyre hit two big free throws to make it 99-98 with eight seconds to play.
Then in a play that could only be described as exhilarating, Richardson stole the ensuing inbounds pass, then dished it off to Thompson for the lay-in to send the Panthers home with the incredible 100-99, quadruple-overtime victory.
“Brian made such an unselfish play to give it up to Tarique,” Cherry said. “Normally in those situation guys are trying to get the ball up on the rim and he made the extra pass. It was meant to be.”
HPU returns to action Saturday night vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 10 p.m. before taking on host Hawai’i on 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.