HPU Men’s Basketball Comeback At Clemson Falls Just Short, 62-59

Posted by Press Release on November 29, 2014 at 7:16 am under College | Comments are off for this article

• HPU battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game midway through the second half and had a number of chances to tie or take the lead down the stretch
• The Panthers out-scored Clemson, 43-36, in the second half and held a .567-.358 advantage in field goal percentage for the frame
• Redshirt-junior forward John Brown posted 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half

CLEMSON, S.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team battled Clemson tooth and nail to the end of a marquee road matchup Friday night but ultimately fell to the Tigers, 62-59, inside Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Panthers erased a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 38-38 at the 13:31 mark of the second half. Then after Clemson moved back ahead by 10, High Point (4-2) roared back and had two chances down to tie the game down 58-56 with less than two minutes to go. But Clemson (4-2) got a pair of key defensive stops late to hang on for the win.

“This was one right there for us to win even though we didn’t play well in the first half,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “I’m proud of our guys for their effort and the way they competed in the second half. But we just need to make those few extra plays when the game is in the balance to be able to take that next step. Our program is at the point where we need to win one of these games.”

After shooting just 25.9 percent from the field in the first half, the Panthers erupted for a 56.7 percent (17-30) effort in the second half while holding the Tigers to just 38.5 percent (10-26) from the floor. HPU grabbed 10 offensive boards and used an active defense to make nine steals while forcing 14 Tiger turnovers in the game. But Clemson held a 41-34 edge on the glass and a 17-4 edge in second chance points on the strength of 16 offensive rebounds.

Redshirt-junior John Brown posted 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half and finished with seven rebounds to lead the Purple & White. Brown went 12-for-22 from the field (8-of-11 in the second half) to post the 27th 20-point game of his career.

Junior Haiishen McIntyre put forth an excellent performance from the point guard position while dishing out a career-best 10 assists and adding two steals in 30 minutes of work. McIntyre assisted on a number of key baskets down the stretch to give the Panthers a chance to win the game. It marked the first 10-assist performance by a Panther since Jorge Perez-Laham dished out 11 vs. Longwood on Feb. 22, 2014.

Redshirt-senior guard Brian Richardson battled back from first-half foul trouble to score all 11 of his points in the second half. The Wilson, N.C., native, made 4-of-7 field goal attempts in the stanza while chipping in three rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Devante Wallace broke out of a mini shooting slump with three big 3-pointers in the second half and finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

With Wallace’s first 3-pointer of the game, he moved past former Panther Zione White and into solo possession of fifth place on the all-time HPU 3-pointers made list. Wallace now has 131 3-pointers in his career.

Junior Lorenzo Cugini also chipped in 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the game.

The two teams started a combined 1-of-14 from the floor with the Tigers jumping out to a 9-3 lead. HPU cut the lead to four (11-7) on a floater from Brown with 9:25 to play in the first half, but Clemson used a 10-2 run to move ahead by 12 (21-9) at the 6:35 mark of the half. From there, Brown came alive with three-consecutive buckets for the Panthers to pull HPU within eight (21-13). The Panthers entered the break trailing by just 10 (26-16) despite shooting 25 percent (7-27) from the floor in the stanza.

The Panthers held Clemson to just 33.3 percent shooting (11-33) and grabbed six offensive rebounds in the period to keep a number of possessions alive. Brown led HPU with eight points and five rebounds in the half.

Clemson led 29-18 early in the second half, before HPU stormed back with a 18-7 run to tie the game at 36-36 with 13:31 to go in the game. With Clemson ahead 36-31, Cugini nailed a 3-pointer, then McIntyre found Brown for a monstrous alley-oop on the break to draw the Panthers even with the Tigers.

After taking more than 18 minutes to score 15 points in the first half, the Panthers accomplished the feat in less than five minutes in the second stanza to get back in the game.

From there, Clemson used an 11-2 run to move the lead back to nine (49-40) with 9:58 to play, but the Panthers just wouldn’t go away. Two free throws put Clemson up 54-44, but HPU quickly responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three (54-51) after a drive and bucket from Brown.

The Panthers moved within two with 2:21 remaining after Richardson cut to the basket and laid it in to make it 58-56. The Panthers had two chances to tie it on ensuing possessions but could not convert. Clemson increased its lead to four (60-56) with 30 seconds remaining after an HPU foul, but Wallace nailed a triple to cut the lead to one (60-59) with just 17 seconds left.

After Clemson made two free throws to make it 62-59, a Wallace 3-pointer missed at the horn and the Tigers escaped with the three-point victory.

The Panthers were without the services of guard Adam Weary in the game who did not play due to an ankle injury.

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 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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