HPU MBB Outdukes James Madison 80-71 In Harrisonburg

Posted by Press Release on December 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

• With Saturday’s win, HPU is off to its best start of the DI era and is 8-3 for the first time since 1995-96
• Redshirt-junior John Brown poured in 17 of his game-high 24 points (10-14 FG) in the second half while adding eight rebounds and three steals
• With the road victory, the Panthers now have three non-conference road wins for the first time since 2005-06

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Behind a stellar 24-point effort from redshirt-junior forward John Brown, the High Point University men’s basketball team (8-3) outscored James Madison 44-34 in the second half en route to a 80-71 victory over the Dukes Saturday at the JMU Convocation Center.

Brown made 10-of-14 field goal attempts and grabbed eight rebounds while pouring in 17 of his 24 points in the second half against the Panthers.

On the strength of Brown’s effort, the Panthers improved to 8-3 for the first time since the 1995-96 season and earned their third non-conference road victory for the first time in nine years. The victory snapped JMU’s six-game home winning streak and dropped the Dukes to 7-4 on the year.

“I’m really excited about what our kids did tonight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “It’s a great win for us because James Madison is a very good basketball team. We executed the game plan we wanted and forced them to shoot a lot of jump shots. A lot of different guys stepped up and did the things they needed to do for us to win.”

Trailing 61-58 with seven minutes to play, the Panthers exploded for a 10-0 run to take a 68-61 lead and never looked back, as JMU could not move closer then six (70-64) over the final three minutes of action.

HPU shot 13-of-26 (.500) from the floor in both halves en route to a solid 26-of-52 night, while the Dukes made 24-of-56 attempts (.429). HPU held JMU (7-4) to just 37.9 percent in the second half, including a 4-of-15 mark (.267) from beyond the arc.

After being out-rebounded 20-12 in the first half, the Panthers were +7 (21-14) on the glass in the second half. HPU forced 11 JMU turnovers which led to 14 points in the game and held a 45-31 edge in bench scoring.

Junior guard Adam Weary posted a season-high 16 points (7-9 FT) and distributed a team-best four assists, while redshirt-senior guard Brian Richardson tallied 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes. Senior guard Devante Wallace chipped in eight points and a season-high 11 rebounds. It marked the first double-figure rebounding effort by a Panther this season.

The Panthers jumped out to an early 11-6 lead before the Dukes used a 6-0 run to move ahead 18-17 at the 9:17 mark of the first half. HPU responded with four-straight to go up three (21-18) and led 29-26 after two free throws from Richardson with 3:36 to play in the period. At that point, JMU used a 6-0 run to take their own 3-point lead (32-29) and the Dukes led by one (37-36) at the half.

The Panthers shot 50 percent (13-26) in the stanza, but JMU grabbed nine offensive rebounds and held a +9 edge (14-5) in second chance points in the half. Richardson led HPU with nine first half points (5-6 FT).

Brown knocked down two difficult jumpers to open the second half and put HPU up 40-37. The lead extended to four (43-39) on a triple from Wallace, but the Dukes used an 8-0 run to move ahead by four (47-43) at the 14:23 mark of the second half. With JMU up 50-45, a lay-in from sophomore Tarique Thompson and triple from Weary quickly tied the game up (50-50) with 12:49 to go.

HPU went up 54-53 on another jumper from Brown, but JMU jumped back in front (59-56) on an Andre Nation dunk with 9:12 to play. With the Dukes ahead 61-58, the Panthers put together a critical 10-0 run to move ahead by seven at 68-61 with 3:19 to go in the game. The surge included a 3-point play from Weary, put-back dunk from Brown and corner 3-pointer from Wallace.

The Dukes cut the lead to 70-64 with 2:14 to play but that’s as close as JMU would get. A alley-oop, one-handed power slam from Brown off a good feed from Richardson put HPU back up eight (72-64) and provided the exclamation mark on a stellar road win for HPU.

The Panthers are now 5-1 in games decided by less than 10 points this season.

“With last year’s injuries and everything we went through, a lot of guys gained experience as sophomores and freshmen,” Cherry said. “We had so many close games this year and last year. Our players know how to win those games and that’s the sign of a good basketball team. Now we need to take that next step, but this is a great win right before Christmas.”

The Purple & White will now enjoy an eight-day holiday break before returning to action on Dec. 28 vs. Thomas University (Ga.) inside the Millis Center. Tip-off in High Point is scheduled for 3 p.m. Pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 2:30 p.m.

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