HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team has released its 2014-15 non-conference schedule, which features a season-opening tournament in Hawai’i and five contests inside the Millis Center.
Three of HPU’s opponents qualified for post-season play last season, while four opponents won 20 or more games in 2013-14. The schedule includes games at Ohio State, Clemson and Richmond, as well as the annual Triad tilt with UNC Greensboro.
“This is a very challenging non-conference schedule featuring some excellent programs and institutions,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “With the experienced team we have returning, we’re looking forward to playing some very good basketball teams that will prepare us for the grind of Big South play in January and February.”
The Panthers open the 2014-15 season with an exhibition tilt against Piedmont on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. inside the Millis Center. It will mark the first ever meeting between the schools.
From there, HPU heads to Honolulu to play three contests in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic. The Panthers open the tournament with a 9:30 p.m. (ET) contest against WAC foe Bakersfield on Nov. 14 and return to the Stan Sherriff Center on Nov. 15 at 9:30 p.m. (ET) to battle Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Highlighting the Rainbow Classic will be HPU’s matchup with Hawai’i, which will tip at 5 a.m. (ET) on Nov. 18 as part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The game will air on ESPN2, marking the Panthers’ first appearance on the network since 2004.
“The trip to Hawai’i will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We wanted to compete in a non-conference tournament, and the chance to appear on one of the major ESPN networks and play as part of the Tip-Off Marathon is a great opportunity for our program.”
After returning from the islands, the Panthers will play at Atlantic 10 foe Richmond on Nov. 22. The Spiders finished 19-14 last season and have made the NCAA Tournament in two of the past five seasons, including a Sweet 16 berth in 2011.
HPU returns to the Triad for its regular season home opener against William Peace University on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. After a short Thanksgiving break, the Panthers hit the road for a Nov. 28 matchup against Clemson at 7 p.m. inside Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers posted a 23-13 record last season and reached the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Battle for the Triad returns on Dec. 1 when the Panthers make the short trek to Greensboro Coliseum to take on UNCG.
“We’re looking forward to starting another series with UNC Greensboro and excited that they’ll be returning to our place in 2015-16,” Cherry said. “There’s a lot of interest locally and it’s a great series that Coach Miller and I have enjoyed playing.”
For the third-straight campaign, the Panthers will face off with William & Mary. After winning in Williamsburg (80-69) last season, HPU will host the Tribe on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. inside the Millis Center.
From there, HPU plays its third Big Ten opponent in four seasons when the team matches up with Ohio State on Dec. 10 in Columbus. It’s the Panthers’ first regular season contest against a Big Ten program since Nov. 14, 2011, when HPU was narrowly edged by Purdue, 67-65, in West Lafayette.
After a Dec. 17 home date with Ferrum (7 p.m.), the Panthers will play the back end of a home-and-home series with James Madison on Dec. 20 in Harrisonburg, Va. (5 p.m.).
HPU wraps up the non-conference slate with a 3 p.m. contest against Thomas University on Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. inside the Millis Center.
“The three opponents we have in Richmond, Ohio State and Clemson provide us with extremely challenging non-conference opportunities,” Cherry said. “In addition, very good teams from the CAA in William & Mary and James Madison also will be great tests as we head into conference play. The teams we’re playing are going to very good, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
All non-conference home games will be streamed live on the Big South Network and highpointpanthers.com, with streaming audio from play-by-play announcer Evan Lepler and color commentator Stafford Stephenson also available.
Additional televised non-conference games at the national and regional levels will be announced at a later date.
About the Panthers: High Point University men’s basketball is a rising mid-major program and a member of the Big South Conference. Over the past two seasons, HPU has captured two Big South regular season titles, a Big South-leading 24 league victories and is the only conference program to earn a berth in back-to-back post-season tournaments (2014 NIT, 2013 CIT). HPU also is one of just 44 programs nationwide to post a conference winning percentage of .750 or better over the past two campaigns.