HPU MBB Caps Classic Comeback Over Winthrop, 73-72

Posted by Press Release on February 12, 2015 at 6:22 am under College | Comments are off for this article

• Redshirt-junior John Brown matched a career high with 34 points, including two free throws with 3.1 seconds left, to lead HPU
• High Point notched its biggest comeback in eight years, trailing by as many as 16 in the second half and 10 with 2:28 to play
• The Panthers moved into a four-way tie for first in the Big South with UNC Asheville, Radford and Charleston Southern with the win

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Redshirt-junior John Brown nailed two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining to give the High Point University men’s basketball team an improbable 73-72 comeback victory over the Winthrop Eagles on Wednesday night at the Millis Center.

High Point erased a 16-point second-half deficit to post its largest comeback since 2007.

“Even though we were down one with four seconds to go and [Winthrop] at the free throw line, I was calm,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “I felt like we were going to get the ball, come down and hit a shot to win it or send it into overtime. Maybe Coach [Dean] Smith was with us tonight. That was one of his signature comeback wins.”

HPU trailed by 10 (70-60) with 2:28 to go but rallied all the way back to within one (72-71) with five seconds left. At that point, the Panthers fouled Winthrop’s Keon Johnson to extend the game. The sophomore missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and the Eagles’ Duby Okeke was called for fouling Brown on the rebound. After Brown sank both free throws for his 33rd and 34th points of the night, Winthrop’s Keon Moore took the inbounds and ran up the sideline past half court, but couldn’t get a shot off in time, giving High Point the win.

“I could see the look on [John’s] face,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “He wasn’t going to lose this game with the ball in his hands. They were huge free throws and we did a great job defensively afterwards to secure the win.”

The Panthers finished the game on a 13-2 run, keyed by making all eight of their free throws in the final 2:29. The 16-point comeback was HPU’s biggest comeback win since a 21-point rally against Charleston Southern in 2007. High Point did not allow a Winthrop field goal over the final 3:29 to secure the comeback.

HPU held the edge in field goal percentage (.460-.441), thanks to shooting 54 percent (13-24) in the second half. High Point also outscored Winthrop 12-6 on second chance opportunities and 18-9 off turnovers.

High Point made 19-of-23 free throws (82.6 percent) to outscore Winthrop 19-7 at the charity stripe. HPU also held an 18-9 edge in points off turnovers and 12-6 advantage in second chance points. The Eagles hit 13 three-pointers on the night and outrebounded the Panthers 37-28.

Brown’s 34 points matched a career high and came on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor and 12-of-15 at the free throw line. Senior Devante Wallace added three three-pointers as part of an 11-point effort. Sophomore Anthony Lindauer contributed nine points (3-5 3pt FG) while sophomore Jorge Perez-Laham tacked on eight points and three assists.

Both teams started the game hot from outside the arc, nailing two three’s a piece in the opening seven minutes, leading to a 12-12 tie. From there, though, Winthrop scored the next 12 points, featuring two trey’s from Moore, the last of which put the Eagles up 24-12 with 9:31 remaining in the half. Moore finished with a team-leading 25 points, including seven three-pointers.

Winthrop pushed the advantage to as many as 15 in the opening stanza (38-23, 1:23) on the backs of another deep ball from Keon Johnson. High Point answered by scoring the final five points of the half to draw to within 10 at halftime, 38-28.

Back-to-back threes out of the halftime break grew the Winthrop lead to its largest at 44-28 (18:18). The Panthers, buoyed by energy from new substitutes, countered with 10 straight over the next three minutes to slice the deficit to six at 44-38 (15:10) on a Brown free throw.

High Point continued to push, extending the run to 25-8 over a nine-minute stretch to take the lead at 53-52 with nine minutes left on Lindauer’s third three-pointer of the game.

Winthrop responded with five straight points to spark an 18-7 run of their own that grew the lead back to 10 on back-to-back three’s from Moore with 3:29 left.

The Panthers found themselves down 70-60 a minute later when Brown hit four straight free throws sandwiched around a Winthrop turnover to draw HPU to within six (70-64, 1:56).

Less than a minute later, Wallace came up with a crucial three from the top of the key to cut the deficit in half (72-69, 1:03). The Panthers forced two missed field goals on their next defensive possession before the Eagles fouled Wallace with 5.2 seconds remaining. The senior calmly made both, bringing HPU to within one. Another front end miss and a foul on Winthrop gave High Point the two free throws to earn the win.

After Wednesday’s one-point game, the last four HPU-Winthrop meetings have been decided by a total of seven points.

HPU is back in action on Saturday in Buies Creek, N.C. against Campbell at 4 p.m. The Panthers defeated the Camels 69-62 in the earlier meeting this season at the Millis Center. Pregame coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 3:30 p.m. with live video also available on the Big South Network.

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