HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team hit 10 three-pointers, including six by junior Devante Wallace, en route to a 76-70 win over Charleston Southern on Monday night at the Millis Center. The win moved HPU into a tie with VMI for first place in the Big South North Division. Redshirt-sophomore John Brown led HPU with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
“It was a tough game and you could tell we were tired in the second half, but I’m proud of the way my team came through and got the win over a good team,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “This has been a heck of a stretch, winning eight of the last 10 games with six of those on the road. I’m sure there were a lot of people out there who didn’t think we’d be tied for first place right now, but the guys in the locker room all believed we could do it.”
Wallace scored 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Freshman point guard Jorge Perez-Laham scored 12 points with four assists. It was the third time this season HPU hit at least 10 three-pointers in a game and the second time in his career Wallace hit at least six three-pointers.
Charleston Southern was led by Matt Kennedy, who scored 14 points in the second half and 19 in the game. Arlon Harper and Sheldon Strickland each scored 17 points.
High Point improved to 12-13 overall and 8-4 in the Big South while Charleston Southern fell to 11-14 overall and 5-7 in league play. VMI didn’t play Monday and is 15-10 overall and 8-4 in the league.
Charleston Southern jumped out to an early lead before High Point came back to tie it at 12-12 on a Tarique Thompson layup. Derrell Edwards drained a three-pointer to put HPU ahead, 19-18, and start a 16-3 run that put HPU ahead the rest of the game. The Panthers led by 11 (32-21) when Brown hit a pair of free throws with 5:59 on the clock. After CSU’s Strickland hit a pair of free throws, Wallace hit his fourth three-pointer in four tries to make it 35-25. The Panthers led 37-30 at halftime.
HPU freshman Anthony Lindauer hit a three-pointer to open the second half and give HPU a 10-point lead. The Panthers led 46-36 on a trey by Perez-Laham before Charleston Southern cut it to five (48-43) shortly thereafter. The Panthers were able to respond with a 12-3 run that was capped by an alley-oop from Edwards to Brown (watch: http://youtu.be/NKjN1TwP7KI) followed by a tip-in by Brown that made it 60-46, HPU’s largest lead of the game.
Down 14, Charleston Southern used a 16-4 run to get right back in it. Back-to-back baskets by the Buccaneers – a fadeaway jumper by Kennedy and a steal for a dunk by Harper – got it to 60-52 with 10 minutes to go. It was 62-58 when Kennedy and Strickland hit back-to-back three-pointers. A Harper layup made it 64-62 with under five minutes to play. That was the closest the Buccaneers would get.
Brown hit a layup on the next play down the floor and the closest CSU would get in the last three minutes was within three points. Perez-Laham hit a shot-clock buzzer-beating jumper with 2:29 left and hit a pair of free throws in the last minute.
High Point’s busy week continues with a home game against Liberty on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Millis Center. In the teams’ previous meeting on Jan. 18, High Point got a 76-70 victory in Lynchburg, Va. The Panthers travel to Longwood on Saturday.