CHARLESTON, S.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team cut a 15-point halftime deficit to six late in the game but couldn’t get any closer in an 83-75 loss to Charleston Southern on Sunday at the CSU Field House in Charleston, S.C. Graduate student Allan Chaney scored 21 points and freshman Adam Weary had a career-high 19 for HPU.
Charleston Southern’s Jeremy Sexton went off for 23 first-half points on 7-for-7 shooting beyond the arc. He ended up with 34 points in the game, shooting 11-for-12 from the floor and 8-for-9 from three-point range. The Buccaneers hit 11 first-half three-pointers en route to a 49-34 lead at the break.
“You can’t come out against the first place team in the league and let them shoot like that,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “They basically did whatever they wanted on offense in the first half. We came out with better intensity and had some chances in the second half. A veteran team might have hit a few more of those shots down the stretch.
“We were good enough offensively, shooting 48 percent on the road. We just lacked intensity in the first half. We got punched in the face by a good team tonight. Hopefully that’s a wake-up call for us.”
Chaney did his damage on 6-for-11 field-goal shooting and 8-for-9 free-throw shooting. Weary went 7-for-13 from the floor and hit both of his three-point attempts. Redshirt-freshman John Brown ended up with 11 points and five rebounds.
Sexton’s 34 led three CSU players in double-digits. Arlon Harper scored 14 points with six assists and Saah Nimly scored 13 with seven assists.
High Point fell to 8-9 overall and 3-2 in the Big South. Charleston Southern improved to 10-6 and 5-0 in league play. The Buccaneers are 9-1 since the beginning of December.
Charleston Southern started the game on fire, getting two treys from Mathiang Muo and one from Sexton in the first five minutes en route to a 13-1 lead. The Panthers then went on a run of their own, cutting it down to 15-11 when Devante Wallace finished a three-point play with 12:20 left. It was still within five (20-15) when Weary hit back-to-back buckets, getting a rebound and running the length of the floor for the second one.
CSU continued its sharp shooting, getting its lead up to 14 before High Point cut it to 39-32 on a Jairus Simms three-pointer. The Buccaneers closed the first half on a 10-2 run, getting two final three-pointers from Sexton to make it 49-34.
The Panthers came out stronger in the second half, starting with an 11-4 run that made it 53-45 on Weary’s first three-pointer with 15:51 remaining. Dejuan McGaughy scored four points and Derrell Edwards hit a three-pointer on the run. The Buccaneers were able to get their lead back to double-digits on a pair of free throws by Nimley and kept it around 10 until a 6-0 run made it 73-58 with 6:16 to go.
The Panthers used a 7-0 run, getting a pair of free throws and a trey from Weary as well as a layup from Chaney to get back within eight (73-65) with 4:55 left. High Point got the deficit down to six (75-69) on a pair of McGaughy free throws with 3:27 on the clock.
That was the closest HPU could get as the Panthers shot 2-for-7 from the floor to finish the game. Chaney had a three-point play that got HPU within seven and hit a three-pointer that got the Panthers within six in the last minute. CSU hit 5-of-6 free throws in the same span, including two each by Sexton and Nimley.
The Panthers return to the Millis Center next week to face VMI on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Keydets are 4-1 in conference play following a 72-49 loss to Coastal Carolina on Saturday.