Site: Nashville, Tenn. (Curb Event Center)
Score: Belmont 90, High Point 51
Records: BU (3-1, 0-0 OVC), HPU (0-4, 0-0 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Wednesday, Nov. 20 — at Saint Louis (Saint Louis, Mo.), 7 p.m. CT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The High Point University men’s basketball team was unable to contain a hot shooting Belmont University team in a 90-51 loss on Monday evening (Nov. 18) in the second contest of the Gotham Classic.
“I thought we played harder in the second half,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “In the first 12 minutes of the second half we really did some good things that we didn’t do in the first. They (Belmont) are a really talented team though and move the ball as well as anybody that we have played so far. Their three point shooting is something we emphasized to defend we just didn’t execute it.”
A 2019 NCAA Tournament team, Belmont jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. Thanks in large part to a 12-0 run midway through the opening stanza, Belmont went up by as many as 32 in the opening half and shot 44% from beyond the arc off eight attempts made.
Sophomore Curtis Holland III led the Panthers with seven points in the first half.
High Point came out of halftime with renewed energy, nearly doubling its score within the first five minutes of the period that included a three-pointer from freshman Eric Coleman Jr. at the 4:10 mark.
“I thought we played harder and we went to a different type of offense in the second where we were more specific about a few things,” added Smith. “It gave us a better chance to score and we got in a rhythm there where quite a few guys scored and got a couple good looks.”
The Panthers improved their shooting in the second half, shooting 40.6% from the hardwood after going 6-26 (23.1%) in the opening period.
Freshman John-Michael Wright led the squad with 11 points while Coleman and Holland chipped in with nine points each.
Belmont is one of four 2019 NCAA Tournament teams that the Panthers will face this season and one of two who won its opening game in the tournament. The Bruins join Wofford, Saint Louis and Gardner-Webb on the HPU slate who went “dancing” last season.
The Panthers continue on the road trip in the Gotham Classic when they travel to Saint Louis University on Wednesday (Nov. 20). Tipoff is scheduled at 7 p.m. CT.