HIGH POINT, N.C. — A 27-8 run to end of the first half propelled the High Point University’s men’s basketball team to a 96-62 win over Mars Hill in exhibition action on Saturday night at the Millis Center. Three players finished in double figures for the Panthers in the win.
“We did some good things tonight, we had some goals to work on after our scrimmage last week and I think we got a lot of those things done,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “We have a lot of new guys out there and I liked the way we played as a team. At any given point, we might have had two freshmen, two junior college guys and John Brown or Allan Chaney out there – five guys who are new to our system. I think we’re making progress in getting everyone where they need to be.”
Chaney, a graduate student, and junior Derrell Edwards each finished with 16 points to lead HPU. Chaney also posted six rebounds and a pair of blocks. Junior guard Justin Cheek chipped in with 14 points and junior Dejaun McGaughy came off the bench to score nine points with team highs of seven rebounds and five assists.
Forward Daron Guyton lead Mars Hill with 18 points and guard Carter Wright finished with 12 for the Lions.
HPU opened the game in an explosive fashion with redshirt-freshman John Brown scoring on an alley-oop from senior Jairus Simms. After the impressive start, HPU began to struggle offensively until Edwards and senior Branimir Mikulic hit back-to-back three pointers to give the Panthers an early 9-2 lead.
The Panthers’ defense was instrumental in taking the early advantage. HPU held the Lions without a field goal until Guyton hit a three-pointer at 14:11 made the score 13-7. High Point still led by six (18-12) when Mars Hill scored five quick points ot close within a point with 10:45 remaining.
With the lead still at one (20-19), a three-point play by Simms sparked a 27-8 High Point run to close the half and the game was never in question after that. Edwards and Simms each scored six points in the run to help the Panthers take a 47-27 lead at the half. High Point held Mars Hill to just 25 percent (7-for-28) shooting in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, High Point built its lead to as large as 37 (96-59) with 24 seconds remaining before a late Mars Hill three made the final score 96-62.
The Panthers dominated the boards in the game, finishing with a 52-31 advantage. High Point outscored Mars Hill 48-16 in the paint and had a 21-12 edge in second chance points. Six players combined to score 33 points off the bench for HPU led McGaughy’s nine. The Panthers finished with 18 assists on 35 made baskets.
High Point officially opens its season next Friday when it hosts UNC Greensboro to the Millis Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.