HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball won for the seventh time in its last 10 games to moved into sole possession of first place in the Big South North Division with a 78-68 win over Presbyterian before a crowd of 1,802 on Saturday night at the Millis Center. Graduate student Allan Chaney led High Point with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“We knew it would be a tough game, Coach Nibert has those guys playing hard,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “But our guys are getting better each week. We go over new things and change things every day and the guys are getting it. We’ve got a tough stretch coming up with four of our next five games on the road. This stretch will really show what we’re made of.”
Chaney got his 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the floor and 9-for-12 shooting from the line. It was his fourth double-double of the season. Redshirt-freshman John Brown scored 20 points for the 10th time this season and freshman Adam Weary scored 14. Weary went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
PC junior Joshua Clyburn came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Three others scored in double-digits, including redshirt-sophomore wing Jordan Downing, who scored 14 on 5-for-9 shooting.
High Point got back over .500 overall with the win, improving to 11-10 with a 6-3 Big South mark. Presbyterian fell to 5-18 overall and 2-7 in the Big South.
High Point jumped out to seven-point lead (9-2) when senior guard Jairus Simms hit a jumper from the top of the key with 14:04 left in the first half. High Point’s lead hovered around a five to seven points until late in the half.
With 2:30 to go, Presbyterian went on an eight-point run to bring HPU’s nine-point lead down to one (26-25) with 17 seconds left in the half. Clyburn hit a layup to start the run, then got a steal and a layup on the next play. William Truss also hit a layup and two free throws on the run. Chaney hit a pair of free throws to make it 28-25 at the break.
Brown led the Panthers out of the gate in the second half with a pair of free throws. He drew a charge on the next Blue Hose possession, which resulted in a three-pointer by junior Dejuan McGaughy that pushed the score to 33-25. Presbyterian got it back within three (39-36) on a three-pointer by Downing before the Panthers went on a 10-0 run to get their largest lead of the game, 49-36, on a Chaney layup with 13:44 left.
The Blue Hose challenged late in the game, getting within three points three times, the last at 63-60 when Clyburn hit a layup with 5:35 left. The next basket was a McGaughy jumper and the Panthers stretched the lead back to 10 in the 78-68 win. HPU made its last six free throws in the final 1:01.
On the offensive boards, High Point outrebounded PC, 15-5, leading to an 18-8 margin in second-chance points. High Point shot 60.0 percent (15-for-25) in the second half. Presbyterian point guard Eric Washington posted nine assists, tying the most by an HPU opponent this season.
Next Wednesday, the Panthers are on the road, taking on Campbell in Buies Creek for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Campbell is 10-13 overall and 5-4 in the North Division of the Big South.