HPU Men’s Hoops Hosts Piedmont In Saturday Exhibition

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team opens the 2014-15 season with an exhibition contest vs. Piedmont College on Saturday inside the Millis Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network. Live audio featuring Kevin Burke and Stafford Stephenson also will be available via the “live audio” link on highpointpanthers.com. Ford Martin and Sean Hamilton will have the call on BSN.

The Panthers return 11 letter winners and all five starters from a 2013-14 squad that captured the Big South regular season title (12-4 league record) and earned the first NIT berth in program history. The team returns 85.5 percent of its scoring and 81.7 percent of its rebounding from a season ago.

HPU was picked to finish second in the Big South preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and media. Coastal Carolina (297 points, 14 first place votes) was picked to win the league, while HPU earned 293 points and grabbed 12 first place votes.

Redshirt junior John Brown has been named the Big South Preseason Player of the Year for the second-straight campaign. The Jacksonville, Fla., native earned Big South Player of the Year honors in 2013-14 and was an AP All-America Honorable Mention selection. Brown also has received pre-season Mid-Major All-America accolades from NBCSports.com and Mid-Major Madness. He was ranked the No. 86 player in the nation by CBSSports.com.

The Panthers will look to continue to take the men’s basketball program to new heights in 2014-15. Over the past two seasons, HPU leads the Big South in conference wins (24), conference winning percentage (.750) and is the only school to make back-to-back post-season appearances (2014 NIT, 2013 CIT).

HPU also is one of just 44 programs in the country to post a conference winning percentage of .750 or better over the past two seasons. That list of schools includes Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Louisville, Gonzaga and Wichita State.

Piedmont was picked to finish ninth in in the 2014-15 USA South preseason poll. The Lions return 13 players from last year’s roster including all five starters from the end of the 2013-2014 season and four of the top five scorers from a season ago. Head Coach Greg Neeley enters his second season at the helm after boosting the Lions’ win total by nine games in his first year and leading the team to finish two spots ahead of the original preseason ranking. The team posted a 9-15 record (4-10 USA South) in 2013-14. Sophomore Brian Edwards led the team last season with 13.1 ppg and shot 51.0 percent from the field, including a 39.5 mark from 3-point territory.

The Panthers and Lions have met twice on the basketball court, with HPU winning both meetings. Both games were played in a span of nine days during the 1985-86 season. HPU won the first contest, 93-46, on Nov. 14, 1986, in Demorest, Ga., and defeated Piedmont in the return game, 106-55, on Nov. 22, 1986.

High Point University has posted a 16-1 record (.941) in 17 all-time meetings with USA South opponents (Division III). The Panthers most common USA South opponents are Greensboro College (7-1), Ferrum (4-0), Piedmont (2-0) and Covenant (2-0). In the most recent meeting with a USA South school, HPU defeated Ferrum, 94-64, on Nov. 12, 2013. In addition to the Piedmont game Saturday, HPU also will play USA South programs William Peace (Nov. 25) and Ferrum (Dec. 17) during the 2014-15 regular season.

High Point University says “Aloha” to the Hawaiian Islands to open the 2014-15 regular season. The Panthers will take part in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic and begin the round-robin event against Bakersfield on Friday, Nov. 14 at 10 p.m. inside the Stan Sherriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai’i. HPU will then play Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 18 at 10 p.m. before taking on host Hawai’i on Nov. 18 at 4:59 a.m. The contest vs. the Rainbow Warriors will be broadcast live on ESPN2 as part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.