• The victory earned HPU at least a share of the Big South regular season title for the third-straight season
• HPU’s 22 wins are tied for the most in the program’s Div. I history; HPU also set new Div. I records for road wins (9) and league road wins (6) with the victory
• The win was HPU’s first at UNC Asheville since 2007.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team sits alone atop the Big South standings with one game to play after winning at UNC Asheville, 75-71, on Thursday night inside Kimmel Arena.
With the victory, HPU (22-7, 13-4) holds a one game lead over Charleston Southern (18-10, 12-5), who the Panthers will face Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with the No. 1 Big South Tournament seed on the line.
With Wednesday’s win, the Panthers have claimed at least a share of the Big South regular season title for the third-straight season and have tied the High Point Division I wins record with their 22nd victory. HPU also set new Division I records for road wins (9) and Big South road wins (6) after earning the four-point victory.
The victory was HPU’s first win at UNC Asheville since 2007 and clinched the first season-sweep of the Bulldogs since 2006-07.
“I’m just really happy with this team and the way they fight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “Different guys step up and make plays for us. If one guy isn’t playing well the others step up and do a great job for us. I give our guys a lot of credit, they made some huge defensive stops down the stretch. This was a tremendous team effort.”
HPU led for 32 of a possible 40 minutes and held a 69-58 advantage with 5:35 to play. The Bulldogs cut it to 69-67 with 3:09 to go, but the Panthers scored the next five points of the game to clinch the victory.
Redshirt-junior John Brown led the Panthers with the 12th double-double of his career. The Henson Award nominee posted 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting and added 10 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Brown was one of four Panthers in double figures. Redshirt-senior Brian Richardson added 11 points (4-6 FG) and two blocks, while junior Lorenzo Cugini posted 10 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Adam Weary chipped in 10 points and registered a team-high four assists.
Senior guard Devante Wallace added eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Along with Brown’s 10 boards, it marked the first time since Jan. 16, 2013, that two Panthers registered at least 10 rebounds in a game.
HPU shot 45.2 percent (28-62) from the field and held a season-high +19 rebounding margin (46-27) during a dominating performance on the glass. HPU’s 16 offensive rebounds led to a 19-6 edge in second chance points, and HPU was +16 (42-26) in points in the paint.
The two teams played to a 17-17 tie before five points from Cugini helped HPU build a 24-23 lead at the 9:36 mark of the opening half. The Panthers extended their edge to 34-29, but Asheville responded with a 6-0 run to take a one-point lead (35-34) with 3:34 to go in the half. From there, HPU answered back with a 6-0 run of its own to make it 40-35, but the Bulldogs posted the final four points of the half to trail the Panthers by one (42-41) at the break.
The Bulldogs scored six of the first eight points of the second half to go up by three (47-44), but two big 3-pointers from Richardson fueled a 10-0 run that moved the Panthers back ahead seven (54-47) at the 15:30 mark of the second half. The Bulldogs cut the lead to four (59-55) with 8:33 to play in the game. But the Panthers used a 10-3 run, including two big buckets from Devante Wallace, to extend the lead to 11 (69-58) with 5:35 to go.
At that point, Asheville raced back with a 9-0 run to cut the HPU lead to two (69-67) with 3:09 to play, but HPU’s 5-0 run from there effectively sealed the win for the Panthers.
Andrew Rowsey led the Bulldogs with 39 points on 13-of-27 shooting.
High Point wraps up the regular season with a game at Charleston Southern (18-10, 12-5) on Saturday at CSU Field House.