HPU Men’s Basketball Battles Georgia Wednesday On ESPNU

Posted by Press Release on November 24, 2015 at 2:05 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (3-1) heads south for a Thanksgiving eve tilt with SEC foe Georgia on Wednesday inside Stegeman Coliseum.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Bulldogs is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU, with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Chris Spatola (color commentary) on the call. In addition, the game will air live on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with Evan Lepler providing analysis. Pre-game coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST).

• HPU excelled away from the Millis Center last season, posting Div. I program bests in road wins (9) and road winning percentage (.600). The Purple & White dropped their road opener this season on Nov. 13 at Texas Tech (77-73) but won at Drexel (75-66) on Nov. 18.
• With a win, HPU would move to 4-1 for the second-straight season.
• Last time out, the Panthers won their third straight game with a 75-69 victory over Western Carolina inside Millis.
• The Panthers tamed a potent Catamount offense that entered the game averaging 81.0 points per game. HPU held WCU to just 33.3 percent shooting (23-69), including a paltry 18.2 percent (6-33) from beyond the arc.
• High Point had its own shooting woes Saturday, making just 8.3 percent (1-12) of its 3-point attempts. But the Panthers hit 54.3 percent (25-46) of their shots inside the arc and converted 22-of-24 free throw attempts (.917).
• Redshirt-senior John Brown reached the 20-point plateau for the third straight contest, notching a game-high 20 points while chipping in nine rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes. Brown is currently second in the Big South in scoring average (19.8 ppg) and blocks (2.0 bpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.592) and sixth in rebounding (7.5 rpg).
• Senior forward Lorenzo Cugini chipped in 13 points and a season-best seven rebounds vs. WCU. On the year, Cugini ranks 27th nationally and second in the Big South in 3-point field goal percentage (.579). He leads HPU with 11 made triples on the year.

Redshirt-senior forward John Brown was named the Big South Player of the Week Monday (Nov. 23) after averaging 21.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and shooting 57.1 percent (16-28) in HPU’s wins at Drexel and vs. Western Carolina. It marks the first time this season and sixth time in his career that Brown has garnered the weekly accolade.

High Point head coach Scott Cherry picked up his 97th career victory as skipper of the Panthers on Nov. 25 when the Panthers defeated NC Wesleyan. With the victory, Cherry moved past Bart Lundy and into sole possession of first place on the HPU all-time Div. I wins list. Cherry is 99-92 in seven seasons with the Panthers. He is one win away from becoming the third coach in the program’s 88-year history to post 100 career wins, joining Jerry Steele (457-412 from 1972-03) and Virgil Yow (323-198 from 1933-45 & 1953-62).

Georgia was picked fifth out of 14 teams in the 2015-16 SEC preseason media poll. The Bulldogs return nine letter winners and three starters from a squad that posted a 21-12 record and earned a berth in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Georgia fell to Final Four-bound Michigan State (63-70) in the Round of 64. This season, the Bulldogs fell to SoCon favorite Chattanooga (92-90 OT) on Nov. 13 before rebounding with a 63-52 win over Murray State on Nov. 20. The team is led by senior guard and preseason first team All-SEC selection Kenny Gaines, who is averaging 23.5 ppg and shooting 50 percent over UGA’s first two contests. Gaines posted a career-best 35 points in Georgia’s win over the Racers. Sophomore forward Yante Maten is averaging a double-double (12.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg), while preseason All-SEC selection Charles Mann has notched 9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 apg and 2.5 spg. Junior guard J.J. Frazier is second on the team with 15.0 points per contest.

Through four games this season, High Point ranks second in the Big South and 41st nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.260). HPU has limited its opponent to under 30 percent shooting from beyond the arc in three of four games. In the most recent contest, the Purple & White held Western Carolina to 18.2 percent shooting (6-33) from international waters.

HPU and Georgia will meet for just the second time on Wednesday. The Bulldogs won the only previous meeting, posting an 85-38 win over the Panthers on Dec. 21, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

The Panthers are 0-11 (.000) all time against current members of the Southeastern Conference. HPU’s most common opponents are Kentucky (0-3), Florida (0-3) and Auburn (0-2). The Panthers played Kentucky regularly during the head coaching tenure of HPU alumnus Tubby Smith (’73). In the most recent meeting with an SEC program, HPU fell to Arkansas, 89-48, on Dec. 28, 2014 in Fayetteville.

HPU returns to the Millis Center for the first contest of a two-game homestand. The Panthers host MEAC foe Morgan State on Saturday (Nov. 28) at 4 p.m. From there, HPU opens its Big South slate with a home contest vs. Longwood on Dec. 2 (7 p.m.). Both games will air on the Big South Network and the High Point Panthers Radio Network.

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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