HPU Men’s Basketball Opens 2015-16 Slate at Texas Tech Friday

Posted by Press Release on November 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team opens the 2015-16 season against alumnus Tubby Smith (’73) and Texas Tech on Friday in Lubbock, Texas.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Red Raiders is set for 9 p.m. (ET) inside United Supermarkets Arena. Friday’s game will be televised nationally on Fox College Sports Pacific. FCSP is Channel 372 on Time Warner Cable and Ch. 138 on Windstream in the Piedmont Triad (part of a premium cable package). Robert Giovannetti (play-by-play), John Harris (color) and Courtney Davis (sideline) will anchor the coverage.

In addition, the game will air live on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with Kevin Burke (play-by-play) and Stafford Stephenson (color) providing analysis. Pre-game coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

• The Panthers return 11 letter winners, three starters and 76 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding output from a season ago.
• HPU is coming off a 2014-15 campaign in which the team set new Div. I program records for wins (23), Big South wins (13), road wins (9), Big South road wins (6), road winning % (.600) and final RPI ranking (89).
• The Panthers earned the program’s first Div. I postseason victory, defeating UMES in the first round of the CIT. HPU has made three straight post-season appearances (2015 CIT, 2014 NIT, 2013 CIT).
• HPU claimed a share of the 2014-15 Big South regular season title. The Panthers are the first team since Winthrop (2004-07) under Gregg Marshall to win three consecutive Big South regular season championships.
• HPU also is one of just six programs nationally to have won three straight regular season conference titles. The others are Gonzaga (WCC), Kansas (Big 12), Davidson (SoCon/A10), Stephen F. Austin (Southland) and Harvard (Ivy).
• Over the past three seasons, HPU leads the Big South in conference wins (37), conference winning percentage (.740, 37-13) and is the only school to make three straight post-season appearances.
• HPU will be led by preseason Big South Player of the Year John Brown. A 2014 AP-All America Honorable Mention selection, Brown has been named to the 2016 Julius Erving Award Watch List, an honor given to the top small forward in the nation. He is the only mid-major player on the list of 20 nominees.
• Brown is just the fourth player in Big South history with 1,500 points, 600 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals. He is the nation’s No. 3 returning scorer (1,680 points) and one of just two players nationally to enter 2015-16 with 1,500 career points and 600 career rebounds (Shawn Long, UL-Lafayette).
• The Panthers were picked to win the Big South in the league’s 2015-16 preseason poll and received 17 of a possible 31 first place votes. 2015 Big South Tournament champion Coastal Carolina was picked second (10 first place votes), followed by Winthrop (3).
• Senior guard Adam Weary was named to the preseason All-Big South Second Team. The Memphis, Tenn., native ranked second on the Panthers with 10.8 ppg in league play last season.

HPU is 65-23 all-time in season openers, including a 9-7 mark in the Division I era. The Panthers are 19-11 when the team begins the season on the road (0-5 Div. I era). The Purple & White won its first 14 road openers in program history from 1928-1965 and did not drop an away opener until the 1973-74 season. HPU has won five of its last six season debuts. The Panthers started the season with a bang in 2014-15, defeating Bakersfield, 100-99, in four overtimes on Nov. 14, 2014 as part of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.

A LOOK AT THE RED RAIDERS (13-19, 3-15 Big 12 in 2014-15)
Texas Tech returns eight letter winners and four starters from a team that posted a 13-19 record and 3-15 Big 12 mark in 2014-15. The Red Raiders were picked 10th in the 2015-16 Big 12 Preseason Poll. TTU welcomes back seven of its top-8 scorers from a year ago, including senior guard Devaughtah Williams, who led the Red Raiders in scoring (10.5 ppg), 3-point field goal percentage (.391) and steals (29). Sophomore forward Zach Smith led the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg) and blocks (45) in 2014-15 and shot 47.2 percent from the floor.

Friday’s game vs. Texas Tech will mark the first meeting all time between High Point and Texas Tech in men’s basketball.

HPU has posted an 0-3 all-time record against current members of the Big 12 Conference. The Panthers’ most common Big 12 opponents are Oklahoma (0-2) and West Virginia (0-1). HPU has not played a Big 12 foe since the 2004-05 campaign, when the Panthers fell to the Sooners as part of the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 25, 2004.

Friday’s game marks the fourth time the Panthers have faced off against High Point basketball legend Tubby Smith (’73) during his coaching career. HPU played at Rupp Arena in 2002-03 (L, 64-85) and 2005-06 (L, 55-75) during Smith’s tenure at Kentucky and battled then-No. 23 Minnesota during the 2008-09 campaign (L, 56-82).

High Point head coach Scott Cherry picked up his 96th career victory as skipper of the Panthers on March 18 in the CIT vs. Maryland Eastern Shore. With a win at Texas Tech Friday, Cherry would move past Bart Lundy and into sole possession of first place on the HPU all-time Div. I wins list. Cherry is 96-91 in seven seasons with the Panthers.

Redshirt-senior forward John Brown has received pre-season Mid-Major All-America accolades from NBCSports.com and CollegeInsider.com. He was ranked the No. 64 player in the nation by CBSSports.com. and the No. 98 player in the country by NBCSports.com. Brown also was named the Big South Preseason Player of the Year for the third-straight campaign and is a pre-season candidate for the Lou Henson Award, given to the top mid-major player in college hoops. The Jacksonville, Fla., native earned Big South Player of the Year honors in 2013-14 and was an AP All-America Honorable Mention selection. He earned Lute Olson All-America honors in 2015.

HPU returns to the Triad to open its 2015-16 home slate vs. North Carolina Wesleyan on Sunday, Nov. 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. inside the Millis Center.

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