HPU, Clemson Men’s Basketball Clash In Post-Thanksgiving Tussle

Posted by Press Release on November 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (4-1) will traverse across the Carolina border to take on ACC foe Clemson (3-2) in a post-Thanksgiving clash on Friday evening.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Tigers is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Littlejohn Coliseum. Friday’s tilt vs. Clemson will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3, with Don Munson (play-by-play) and Bob Mihalic (color) on the call. Streaming audio featuring “Voice of the Panthers” Evan Lepler also will be available on highpointpanthers.com. Pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 6:30 p.m.

High Point is 4-1 for the first time since the program’s inaugural Division I season in 1999-00. The Panthers earned their fourth win with an 88-71 victory over William Peace on Tuesday inside the Millis Center.

HPU shot a sizzling 67.9 percent (36-53) in the game, including an 81.0 percent (17-21) mark in the second half. The overall .679 clip marked the second-highest single-game field goal percentage in the program’s Division I history. The high water mark of .684 was set on Jan. 8, 2008 vs. Florida Christian.

The Panthers also distributed a season-high 24 assists, the most by an HPU team since a 26-assist performance vs. Longwood on Feb. 26, 2014.

Redshirt-junior forward John Brown led HPU with 16 points (8-9 FG) and dished out a team-high four assists in just 22 minutes vs. the Pacers. He has posted at least 12 points in all four games he’s played this season.

With the win, High Point improved to 21-8 (.724) in the Millis Center since the start of the 2012-13 season. The Panthers have won eight-straight home games dating back to last season.

The Panthers will play three of their next four games on the road, with two of those contests coming against “Power 5” programs (Clemson on Nov. 28, Ohio State on Dec. 10).

Through five games this season, the Panthers lead the Big South with a .504 field goal percentage (140-278). While the Panthers are shooting just 30.7 percent (27-88) from 3-point territory, HPU is making an impressive 59.5 percent (113-190) of its 2-point attempts. Six Panthers in the team’s regular rotation are shooting above 50 percent for the season, including John Brown (29-48, .604), Brian Richardson (22-41, .537), Tarique Thompson (20-32, .625), Lorenzo Cugini (17-33, .515), Adam Weary (14-26, .538) and K.J. James (7-10, .700).

The Panthers won at Hawai’i, 62-54, to capture the Rainbow Classic title on Nov. 18. The game was televised live on ESPN2 as part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. In addition to that game, HPU will play at least four additional games on the ESPN Family of Networks in 2014-15. HPU will play on ESPN3 Friday when the Panthers travel to Clemson. The Panthers will play at Ohio State on ESPNU Dec. 10 (7 p.m.) and will face off with Longwood (Jan. 19) and Radford (Feb. 3) inside the Millis Center on ESPN3. In addition, the Big South games vs. Charleston Southern (Jan. 8) and at Radford (Jan. 22), Coastal Carolina (Feb. 6) and UNC Asheville (Feb. 26) are candidates to be picked up by ESPNU.

The Tigers were picked to finish 11th out of 15 teams in a loaded ACC this season. Clemson has posted a 3-2 start to the season, with both losses coming at the hands of Big South teams. The Tigers fell to Winthrop, 77-74, on Nov. 17 at Littlejohn Coliseum and dropped a 72-70 contest to Gardner-Webb on Nov. 21 in the Paradise Jam. The Tigers rebounded with wins over Nevada (59-50) and LSU (64-61) in their final two games of the event in the Virgin Islands.

Clemson is led by junior center Landry Nnoko, who leads the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.4 rpg). Five Tigers average double figure scoring totals, including Nnoko, senior guard Damarcus Harrison (11.8 ppg), senior guard Rod Hall (10.6 ppg), redshirt-sophomore forward Jaron Blossomgame (10.6 ppg) and freshman forward Donte Grantham (10.4 ppg). Blossomgame also leads the Tigers with 8.0 rebounds per contest, while Hall is the team’s leading assists man (3.6 apg).

Friday’s matchup will mark the third all-time meeting between High Point and Clemson, with the Tigers holding a 2-0 advantage in the series. Clemson won the inaugural meeting, 91-65, at the Greensboro Coliseum on Nov. 27, 2002, and captured an 88-81 victory in Littlejohn Coliseum on Nov. 24, 2013.

High Point University has posted a 2-29 record in 31 all-time meetings with ACC opponents. The Panthers most common ACC opponent is Wake Forest (1-11), with seven of those meetings coming in the 1930s and 1940s. In the most recent meeting with an ACC program, HPU fell at No. 2 Syracuse, 75-54, on Dec. 20, 2013 inside the Carrier Dome. The Panthers held a second-half lead in that game against the Orangemen.

HPU returns to North Carolina for the annual battle with intra-Triad rival UNCG on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. inside Greensboro Coliseum. Evan Lepler and Stafford Stephenson will have the call on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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