FARMVILLE, Va. — The High Point University men’s basketball team outscored Longwood 53-30 in the second half en route to an 82-53 win on Wednesday night at Willett Hall in Farmville, Va. Senior forward Branimir Mikulic led HPU with 15 points and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
“Intensity was the difference in the halves,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “We came out a little flat in the first half, there wasn’t much energy in the building. But we came out strong after halftime, went hard to the basket and picked up our energy on defense. I could go down the line and talk about every guy – everyone contributed in the win.”
Mikulic went 6-for-7 from the floor and it was his first time ever leading the Panthers in scoring. Freshman guard Adam Weary scored 14 points with six rebounds and four assists and junior Derrell Edwards scored 10 points with a pair of three-pointers. Graduate student Allan Chaney got a team-high 10 rebounds along with eight points.
Longwood was led by freshman forward Michael Kessens, who scored 14 points with 14 rebounds. Jeylani Dublin also scored 14 points while T.T. Carey scored 13.
High Point improved to 14-10 overall and 9-3 in Big South play. HPU has won five games in a row and is 10-3 in its last 13 games. Longwood fell to 4-22 overall and 1-11 in league play.
With High Point leading 24-23 at halftime, Longwood’s Dublin made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game before Edwards sparked a 9-0 run that put the Panthers ahead for good. He hit a pair of free throws followed by a Dejuan McGaughy layup. Edwards then hit a three-pointer and assisted on a McGaughy jumper that made it 33-24.
The Lancers broke the run when Karl Zeigler went the distance for a layup and Longwood was able to counter for a few possessions. It was 39-30 when High Point put the game out of question with a 10-0 run. Mikulic hit two three-pointers and sophomore Devante Wallace buried one of his three treys during the run that made it 49-30.
High Point’s lead grew to 20 (57-37) on a jumper by Weary with 9:29 left in the game. After a layup by Longwood’s Ziegler, McGaughy hit a three-pointer and the Panthers maintained a 20-plus point lead the rest of the way.
The Panthers shot 64.7 percent (22-for-34) from the floor, 100 percent (8-for-8) from three-point range and 100 percent (6-for-6) from the line, while outrebounding Longwood 17-9 in the second half.
The Panthers had a seven-point lead (19-12) in the first half when redshirt-freshman John Brown hit a free-throw with just over five minutes remaining. Longwood closed the first half with an 11-5 run to close it to a point. Dublin scored seven Longwood points in a row balanced only by a three-pointer from HPU’s Edwards. It was within a point (22-21) when Carey got a steal and a layup. After Chaney hit a jumper, a baseline layup by Carey cut HPU’s lead to a point (24-23) again at halftime.
High Point’s 10-3 record in its last 13 games is the team’s best stretch since going 12-2 from Dec. 2, 2006 through Jan. 22, 2007. It’s the first time High Point has won five games in a row since Dec. 29, 2009 through Jan. 11, 2010.
The Panthers are back on the road on Saturday when they travel to Liberty for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va. High Point previously beat Liberty, 77-72, in double-overtime on Jan. 16.