ROCK HILL, S.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team pulled away for a 74-61 win over Winthrop in its Big South opener on Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum in Rock Hill, S.C. The Panthers got double-digit scoring from five players and hit eight three pointers.
“I thought our guys took care of the ball – especially in the second half with just one turnover – and we outrebounded them by 15,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “When you do those things you’ll get good results. We got contributions from everyone and some timely three-pointers by Derrell Edwards. We’ll need that to win games in the conference.”
Graduate student Allan Chaney and freshman Adam Weary had identical totals of 13 points and eight rebounds while sophomore Devante Wallace scored 11 points with a team-best nine boards in just 18 minutes. Redshirt-freshman John Brown and junior Dejuan McGaughy each scored 10 points and junior Edwards scored nine points, all on three-pointers.
Winthrop had three double-digit scorers in Gideon Gamble (14 points), Joab Jerome (13) and James Bourne (10). Jerome and Larry Brown each had six rebounds, Brown adding a trio of blocks.
High Point trailed at halftime but scored the first four points of the second frame to take their first lead since the opening minutes. Brown hit a layup and Chaney hit two free throws to make it 30-29 with 18:10 to go. That started a back-and-forth race that featured nine lead changes and five ties in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
With the score tied at 44-44, freshman Lorenzo Cugini darted a pass through traffic to Edwards, who hit a three-pointer and make it 47-44. That was Edwards’s first of three treys in just 2:28, two of which were assisted by Cugini. Brown added a layup in between and the Panthers led 55-44 with 8:52 left in the game and never looked back.
Winthrop’s Bourne scored the next two points on separate trips to the free-throw line, but the Panthers answered with a three-pointer from Chaney to put the lead up to 12. Winthrop cut HPU’s lead to nine just once the rest of the way – a three-point play by Bourne that made it 69-60 with just over a minute on the clock.
Within 10 points, the Eagles utilized a full-court press on High Point’s next possession and Chaney broke away for a one-handed dunk that solidified the Panthers’ victory. The Panthers hit three more free throws to quell any chance of a Winthrop miracle.
Brown picked up a pair of early fouls and only played five minutes in the first half, but the Panthers kept it close and trailed by just three at the break. At one point, the teams hit four three-pointers in a row, including two by Winthrop’s Gamble, before Chaney hit a jumper and Weary hit a layup to get HPU within two (23-21).
Winthrop opened it back up to five, before Wallace followed his own miss and laid it in. On the next HPU possession, Chaney made a great move to hit a short-range jumper and make it 27-26 with under a minute to play. Winthrop’s Gamble answered with a jumper and the Panthers couldn’t score on their last possession. Chaney came off the bench to score four points and draw two charges in the first half.
High Point had just seven turnovers in the game and just one in the second half. Winthrop turned the ball over just nine times. HPU outrebounded the Eagles, 46-31, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.
High Point improved to 6-7 overall and 1-0 in the Big South while Winthrop fell below .500 at 6-7 and 0-1 in league play.
The Panthers are back in action next Wednesday when they play Radford at 7 p.m. at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va. The Panthers went 1-1 against the Highlanders last season.