Site: Farmville Va. (Willett Hall)
Score: Longwood 67, High Point 54
Records: High Point (3-8), 1-5 Big South, Longwood (5-13), 4-8 Big South
Next HPU Event: Sunday, January 24th VS Presbyterian (Millis Center), 2:00 PM
FARMVILLE, Va.— The High Point University men’s basketball team fell to Longwood 75-54 on Wednesday night (Jan. 20) as the Lancers used a second-half surge to power themselves to the win. For the second straight night, John-Michael Wright led both teams in scoring, the sophomore had 21 points on the night. Lydell Elmore finished second in scoring for HPU with 14 points he also led the way in rebounds for HPU as he brought in six on the evening. Ahmil Flowers repeated his scoring total from the night before as he again finished with nine points.
“We played much better tonight than we did last night”, head coach Tubby Smith said. “I thought our effort was better, other than the turnovers and the rebounding which are two areas we have struggled with in the last few games but our guys seem to be getting their legs back. We tried to get the ball inside more tonight and I thought Lydell (Elmore) played well so did John-Michael (Wright). We just need to find some more people who can score the basketball. I think Ahmil (Flowers) has played fairly consistently as a freshman, he has just been outstanding and then last night I saw where he had the number one play on SportsCenter. We just need to get our legs back under us. Tonight, we were right there other than that three right before the half that gave them some momentum. Then we had a drought where we couldn’t score and turnovers hurt us. Never pleased with a loss but I thought our effort was a lot better tonight.”
After seeing the Lancers start hot the night before, it was HPU who opened the game on a run. Flowers and Wright each hit triples to put HPU up 6-0 with 17:15 to go early in the game. The Panthers used a 14-5 run in the first six minutes of the game to jump out to an early lead. This nine-point lead six minutes into the game would be High Point’s largest lead of the contest. The Lancers started to make their move back into the game with two quick baskets to bring the Panther lead down to four with a little more than ten minutes to go in the first half. Denny Slay II scored a triple to push the Panther lead back out to seven, 18-11.
The Lancers fought their way back and made it a two-point game with 10:12 to go, 18-16. In less than a minute Wright scored a quick six points courtesy of two three-pointers which gave HPU a 24-18 lead with 7:46 to go in the first and 13 points for Wright. A jumper in the paint from Elmore after he tracked down the rebound put HPU up five (26-21) with 5:51 to play in the first. Four Elmore free throws later gave High Point a six-point lead with 3:52 remaining in the half, as the Panthers led 30-24. In the last three minutes of the half, Longwood went a 9-2 run which put Longwood up one at the break, 33-32 after a strong half of play for The Panthers. In the first half, HPU shot 47.6% from the field and went 5-10 from three-point range. Wright was 3-5 from three-point land in the first half.
The second half opened with an Elmore mid-range jumper which put The Purple and White up by one (34-33) just moments into the second half. With 16:43 to go in the game, Wright broke the tie between the Lancers and the Panthers with a three-pointer to give High Point the lead 38-35. Two quick baskets and a stop for Longwood gave them a 39-38 lead heading into the first media timeout of the second half. The action stayed close after the timeout as Wright and the Panthers would answer a Lancer four-point lead with a drive to the rim which resulted in an and-one. The sophomore completed the three-point play and brought the Lancer lead down to one, 44-43.
After the under twelve media timeout, Emmanuel Izunabor hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point deficit 47-45 with 11:48 to go. The Lancers would then go on a 12-0 run to push their lead to 61-45.
UP NEXT: The Panthers return home to the Millis Center to host Presbyterian College (3-7, 1-5) for a pair of conference games on Sunday, January 24th, and Monday, January 25th. Sunday’s game will tip-off at 2:00 PM while Monday’s game will start at 6:00 PM. Both games will be available to watch on ESPN+.