WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Redshirt-freshman John Brown had a career night with 27 points and 10 rebounds but the High Point University men’s basketball team fell late on the road to Wake Forest, 71-60, on Wednesday night in Winston-Salem, N.C. Brown’s double-double was the first of his collegiate career.
“Our guys fought really hard but Wake Forest made some timely threes and we didn’t capitalize on some opportunities in the last three or four minutes,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “This is a tough place to come in and play. Give Wake Forest credit, they made plays on their home court. We’re going to rebound, we’ll come back and be ready for Western Michigan next week.”
Brown shot 12-for-21 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the line to lead all scorers in the contest. He started both halves on fire, scoring six of HPU’s first eight points in the game, then hitting four shots in a row to start the second half. He also finished with three steals and two blocked shots. Graduate student Allan Chaney also had 10 rebounds to go with nine points.
Sophomore guard Chase Fischer led Wake Forest with 15 points, shooting 5-for-8 from three-point range. Four other Demon Deacon players finished in double-digits: Aaron Rountree and Tyler Cavanaugh each notched 11 points and C.J. Harris scored 10. Junior forward Travis McKie grabbed 10 rebounds and scored nine points.
The game was a close affair with six ties and 10 lead changes. Neither team was able to open a double-digit lead until the final three minutes of play. High Point fell to 4-4 on the season while Wake Forest improved to 4-4.
The Panthers and Demon Deacons traded buckets to start the game and, with 10:31 remaining in the first half, High Point held a slim 13-11 lead after a jumper in the lane by Dejuan McGaughy. Brown was big for HPU early, scoring six of High Point’s first eight points including back-to-back buckets to give the Panthers their first lead.
Wake Forest used a 9-1 run to jump ahead 20-14 before a three by junior Derrell Edwards trimmed the deficit to just three with 7:55 remaining in the half. After a Wake Forest bucket pushed the lead back to five, Brown hit a layup and freshman Lorenzo Cugini connected on a three from the elbow to tie the score at 22-22 with just over five minutes left, forcing a Demon Deacons timeout.
After Wake Forest hit four free throws to go up, 28-22, with 3:28 remaining in the half, the Panthers battled back and took a 29-28 lead when Chaney hit a three from the top of the key. Fisher hit a three in the final seconds to put the Demon Deacons up, 31-29, at halftime.
Brown came out on fire in the second half, scoring HPU’s first eight points to as HPU tied the game at 37-37 with just under 16 minutes remaining. Wake Forest began to heat up from behind the arc, connecting on three-straight treys to go ahead by six (48-42) with 12 minutes left in the contest.
HPU got within two on a layup by Edwards and a jumper by Brown before Wake used a 9-2 run to open a 57-48 lead with 8:06 remaining. The Panthers broke the run when Brown slammed a one-handed alley-oop on an inbounds pass from Jairus Simms coming out of a media timeout. After a McKie jumper, Simms hit a layup and Brown got a breakaway, one-handed dunk to close the gap to five (59-54) with five minutes left. Wake Forest was able to outscore the Panthers, 12-6, down the stretch to claim the 71-60 win.
High Point finished the game with a 41-32 edge in rebounds including a 16-9 advantage in offensive boards. The Panthers outscored Wake Forest 28-22 in the paint.
HPU will take a break for exams before returning to action against Western Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Millis Center. It will be the second time that the Panthers and the Broncos will meet this season. In the teams’ previous meeting Western Michigan pulled out a 54-53 win in the final seconds.