HPU MBB Rings In New Year vs. Coastal Carolina Wednesday

Posted by Press Release on December 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (9-3) opens Big South play with a monster matchup against Coastal Carolina (9-3) on New Year’s Eve inside the Millis Center. The game features the league’s top two preseason teams, as Coastal and HPU were picked first and second, respectively in the Big South preseason poll.

Tip-off vs. the Chanticleers is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday’s tilt will air live on the Big South Network, with Kevin Burke handling play-by-play duties. The game also will be broadcast on the High Point Panthers Radio Network featuring “Voice of the Panthers” Evan Lepler. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

Over the past two seasons, the Panthers lead the Big South in league wins (24), winning percentage (.750) and post-season appearances (2). HPU is one of just 44 schools nationally to post a conference winning percentage of .750 or better over the past two seasons.

The Purple & White have won Big South regular season titles in each of the past two seasons (2013-14, 2012-13). HPU started Big South play 0-2 last season before winning 12 of its final 14 league games.

HPU is 10-5 all-time in Big South openers, including a 3-2 mark under head coach Scott Cherry.

The Panthers (9-3) are off to their best start in the program’s Division I era. It’s the first time HPU has begun the season 9-3 since the 1995-96 campaign. HPU has tallied nine non-conference wins for the first time since 2007-08.

High Point has posted a 24-8 (.750) record in the Millis Center since the start of the 2012-13 season. The Panthers have won 11-straight home games dating back to last season. The Panthers will play three of their next four games inside the Millis Center. HPU is 4-0 at home in 2014-15. The Purple & White are shooting 57.3 percent (125-218) at home and averaging a +28.8 scoring margin (86.5-57.5) over their opponents.

Last time out, HPU dispatched of NAIA foe Thomas (Ga.), 84-58, on Dec. 28 inside the Millis Center. Redshirt-junior forward John Brown led the Panthers with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Brown leads the Big South in field goal percentage (.580) this season and is ranked No. 29 in the nation in field goals made (83). Brown is also No. 31 nationally in field goal percentage and 43rd in points per game (18.6).

The Panthers have posted a 113-123 (.479) Big South record in 15 all-time Division I seasons. HPU is 24-8 (.750) over the past two seasons in league play and has captured the last two Big South regular season championships.

High Point has excelled at the charity stripe so far this season, as the Purple & White rank second in the Big South with a 72.5 percent clip. The Panthers are 7-0 when they shoot 70 percent or better from the line this season. HPU’s top five scorers all average 70 percent or better from the line.

Through 12 games this season, the Panthers lead the Big South with a .484 field goal percentage (318-657). Five Panthers in the team’s rotation are shooting 50 percent or better for the season, including John Brown (83-143, .580), Brian Richardson (37-74, .500), Adam Weary (28-54, .519), Lorenzo Cugini (40-80, .500) and K.J. James (13-23, .565). Brown leads the Big South in field goal percentage.

Coastal Carolina was picked to win the Big South in the league’s pre-season poll after winning the conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14. The Chanticleers are off to a 9-3 start to the 2014-15 campaign, including a win at SEC foe Auburn (58-54) on Dec. 5. Coastal is 3-3 on the road this season and is ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense (53.8 ppg allowed). CCU is led by preseason all-Big South first team pick Josh Cameron, who paces the Chanticleers with 13.7 ppg. Junior forward Badou Diagne leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Shivaughn Wiggins is the team’s leading assists man (3.2 apg).

Wednesday’s matchup with CCU will mark the 34th all-time meeting between the Panthers and Chanticleers. CCU holds an 18-15 lead in the all-time series, although HPU has captured the past three meetings. HPU is 9-7 vs. CCU in games played in High Point. The teams first met on Nov. 21, 1978, with HPU capturing a 72-71 win in Conway. In the most recent meeting, the Panthers earned a 77-74 win at Coastal on Feb. 5, 2014 behind 19 points from John Brown and 17 from Devante Wallace.

Although HPU plays three of its first four conference games at home, the Panthers will face some of the league’s projected top teams to kick off the league campaign. After hosting pre-season favorite Coastal Carolina (Dec. 31), HPU will play at No. 4 pick Winthrop on Jan. 3, before heading home to face off with No. 5 Charleston Southern on Jan. 8. The Panthers also will play at Gardner-Webb on Jan. 14. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have already taken down Power 5 foes Purdue and Clemson this season.

HPU travels to Rock Hill, S.C. to take on Winthrop on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will air live on the Big South Network. Pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 12:30 p.m.

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