HPU Men’s Hoops Hosts WCU In Intra-State Battle Saturday

Posted by Press Release on November 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (2-1) rekindles an old NAIA intra-state rivalry Saturday when the Panthers host SoCon foe Western Carolina (1-1) inside the Millis Center.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Catamounts is set for 7 p.m. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network, with Ford Martin (play-by-play) and Sean Hamilton (color) on the call. In addition, the game will air live on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with Kevin Burke and Stafford Stephenson providing analysis. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. (EST).

The first 500 students at Saturday’s game will receive a complimentary High Point University winter hat.

• High Point has posted a 23-7 (.767) record in the Millis Center since the start of the 2013-14 season. The Panthers have won 20 of their past 22 home games and have not lost a non-conference home game since a setback to James Madison on Dec. 14, 2014.
• With a win, HPU would move to 3-1 for the second-straight season.
• Last time out, the Panthers won at Drexel on Wednesday in Philadelphia. HPU held the Dragons to just one field goal over the final 4:12 and closed the game on an 11-2 run.
• HPU forced 17 Drexel turnovers while committing just nine and held a +16 (22-6) edge in points off turnovers for the game The Panthers’ +3.7 turnover margin this season ranks second in the Big South.
• The Purple & White are shooting 48.7 percent (15-28) from 3-point territory through three games this season, which ranks fifth nationally. Cugini (.625 – ranked 29th nationally, 3rd Big South) and Lindauer (.600) are both shooting above 60 percent from international waters.
• Redshirt-senior John Brown led HPU with 23 points and a season-high nine rebounds at Drexel. He is averaging 23.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg and shooting 70 percent (16-23) over the past two games.
• Brown is the nation’s No. 3 active scorer (1,739 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).

Western Carolina was picked eighth out of 10 teams in the 2015-16 SoCon preseason poll. WCU fell at Cincinnati, 97-72, in its season opener but rebounded with a 90-81 win over UNC Asheville on Nov. 15 in Cullowhee. The team is led by preseason All-SoCon selection Mike Brown, who leads the conference and ranks 11th nationally in scoring (26.0 ppg). Freshman guard Elijah Pughsley is averaging 18.5 ppg and is third in the country in 3pt field goals made/game (5.0). The Catamounts take care of the ball and rank eighth in the country in turnover margin (+8.0). WCU also is 12th nationally in free throw percentage (.800), but is 345th out of 346 Division I teams in field goal percentage defense (.583).

HPU and Western Carolina will meet for the 62nd time on Saturday. The Panthers hold a 39-22 edge (.639) edge in the all-time series, including a 2-0 mark in the Division I era. The majority of the meetings (59) came when the Panthers and Catamounts were members of the Carolinas Conference (NAIA) from 1934-1970. The teams first met during the 1934-35 season, with HPU earning 37-33 victory in High Point. In the most recent battle, the Panthers earned a 73-66 win at the Millis Center on Nov. 26, 2005.

The Panthers are 71-50 (.587) all-time against current members of the Southern Conference. The Panthers most common opponents are Western Carolina (39-22), VMI (13-10) and UNCG (8-2). In addition to the long-time series with WCU during the NAIA days, HPU and VMI clashed often over the past decade during VMI’s tenure in the Big South.

High Point has complied a 321-264 (.549) record all-time against Div. I programs hailing from the Tar Heel State. HPU’s most common opponents are Elon (86-76, .531), Appalachian State (60-36, .625) and Western Carolina (39-22, .639). The majority of those meetings came during the NAIA era. High Point is 75-70 (.517) against Big South programs from North Carolina and 247-194 (.560) against the rest of the state’s Div. I teams.

HPU heads south to Athens, Ga., for a Thanksgiving eve tilt with SEC foe Georgia on Wednesday, Nov. 25 (5 p.m.). The game will be televsied nationally on ESPNU. In addition, pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network will begin at 4:30 p.m.

About the Panthers: The High Point University men’s basketball team is coming off a record-breaking 2014-15 season that saw the Panthers set new Div. I program records for wins (23), Big South wins (13), road wins (9) and Big South road wins (6). HPU advanced to the postseason for the third-straight year and earned its first ever postseason win with a victory over UMES in the CIT. HPU is the winningest Big South program over the past three years and is one of just six schools nationally to have won a regular season conference title in each of the past three campaigns (Gonzaga, Kansas, Stephen F. Austin, Davidson, Harvard).

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