HPU Men’s Basketball Heads To Gardner-Webb For Saturday Tilt

Posted by Press Release on December 4, 2015 at 3:20 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (5-2, 1-0) plays its Big South road opener Saturday in Boiling Springs when the Panthers take on Gardner-Webb (3-5, 1-0).

Saturday’s game will be streamed live on the Big South Network. In addition, the game will air live on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with Evan Lepler and Stafford Stephenson providing analysis. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. (EST), with the post-game show immediately following the contest vs. the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

• HPU posted a 6-3 record (.667) in league road games last season. The six wins were a program record in conference play since the Panthers joined the Big South in 1999-2000.
• Last time out, High Point opened Big South play Wednesday with a 90-66 home win over Longwood.
• HPU led for 39:08 of a possible 40 minutes while putting together an outstanding offensive performance. The Panthers shot 54.1 percent (33-61) for the game and a season-best 57.9 percent (11-19) from 3-point range.
• The Panthers are shooting 55 percent (66-110) overall, 53.6 percent from 3-point land (15-28) and averaging 86 points per game over their past two contests.
• High Point ranks first in the Big South in both offensive efficiency (1.049 points per possession) and defensive efficiency (1.020 points per possession).
• Since the 2012-13 season, HPU leads the Big South in conference wins (38), conference winning percentage (.745) and is the only school to make three straight post season appearances.
• Redshirt-senior forward John Brown posted 18 points (5-7 FG), nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists in just 24 minutes vs. Longwood. He is averaging 24.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 3.5 bpg and shooting 71.4 percent over HPU’s last two contests.
• Brown needs just four offensive rebounds and 10 steals to become the all-time HPU leader in those categories.
• Senior forward Lorenzo Cugini posted 16 points vs. Longwood and made 4-of-5 of his 3-point attempts. He has registered at least 12 points in all six games this year and is shooting 56.7 (17-30) percent from 3-point range. The Stow, Ohio, native is fifth in the Big South in overall field goal percentage (.544) and 12th in scoring (14.4 ppg).

Redshirt-senior John Brown is truly stuffing the stat sheet this season. He leads the Big South in offensive rebounds/game (3.6) and is second in scoring (19.7 ppg) and blocks (2.4 bpg). The Jacksonville product also is fifth in rebounding (7.4 rpg), ninth in steals (1.4 spg) and 11th in assists (2.7 apg).

Gardner-Webb was picked to finish fifth in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have played a difficult schedule thus far, with losses at Iowa (76-59), No. 16/13 Vanderbilt (98-62), Tennessee (89-64) and rv/rv George Washington (65-94). GWU owns wins over Toccoa Falls (125-79), Southeastern Louisiana (77-68) and a Big South victory at Presbyterian (87-76).

The Runnin’ Bulldogs lead the Big South in 3-point field goal percentage (.403) and are second in scoring average (79.6 ppg). On the other end of the floor, the Runnin’ Bulldogs are last in the conference and 335th out of 346 Div. I teams in scoring defense (85.4 ppg). GWU is 10th in the Big South (334th nationally) in opponent field goal percentage (.501). Senior guard Harold McBride leads the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) and assists (3.4 apg) while junior forward Tyrell Nelson chips in 13.6 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per contest. Redshirt-senior guard Adonis Burbage is shooting 51.2 percent and averaging 11.4 points per game.

HPU and Gardner-Webb will meet for the 49th time on Saturday. HPU has won five of the last seven matchups, including two of three last season. High Point won the two regular season matchups in 2015-16 (84-72 at GWU, 83-62 at HPU), but fell to the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 72-71 (OT), in the quarterfinals of the Big South Tournament. The two teams first met exactly 55 years ago to the day of Saturday’s contest. GWU won the game, 103-84, on Dec. 5, 1970 in High Point.

HPU returns to non-conference play with a marquee intra-Triad rivalry game on Wednesday (Dec. 9). The Panthers host UNCG at 7 p.m. inside the Millis Center. Pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 6:30 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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