• The Panthers played Richmond to a 35-35 tie in the second half but could not overcome a first half in which the Spiders shot 68 percent from the field
• Redshirt-senior Brian Richardson led HPU with 13 points and made 5-of-6 FG attempts in the second half
• The Panthers open the 2014-15 home slate on Tuesday night (7 p.m.) vs. William Peace inside the Millis Center
RICHMOND, Va. – The High Point University men’s basketball team dropped its first contest of the season, 80-56, to a hot-shooting Richmond ball club Saturday afternoon inside the Robins Center.
The Panthers played the Spiders to a 35-35 draw in the second half, but could not overcome a first half in which Richmond shot 68.0 percent (17-25) from the floor and 63.6 percent (7-11) from 3-point territory.
HPU shot a solid 58.3 percent (14-24) in the second half, but was just 32 percent (8-25) from the floor in the opening period. The Spiders held a +5 edge (27-22) on the glass and a 34-20 advantage in points in the paint. Richmond forced early HPU turnovers to get out and run on the break and held a 12-0 edge in fast break points for the game.
“We didn’t execute the game plan we had in place from the get go today and I take responsibility for that,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We have to get back, regroup and get ready for William Peace on Tuesday. Specifically on the defensive end, we didn’t execute, and the early struggles offensively cost us.”
Redshirt-senior Brian Richardson led the Panthers with 13 points and knocked down 3-of-6 3-point attempts. The Wilson, N.C., native made 5-of-6 field goal attempts in HPU’s improved second half.
Redshirt-junior John Brown chipped in 12 points (5-10 FG) and four rebounds, while junior Lorenzo Cugini hit his first three 3-point attempts en route to an 11 point, four rebound effort. Junior Adam Weary distributed a team-high four assists and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes for the Panthers.
The Spiders jumped out to an early 12-4 lead and moved in front by 14 (21-7) at the 11:15 mark of the first half. Richmond made seven of its first nine shots, including a 3-of-3 mark from 3-point land. UR extended its lead to 34-12, before HPU cut it to 37-18 on a 3-pointer from sophomore Anthony Lindauer. Richmond closed the half on an 8-3 run and led 45-21 at the break.
The Panthers fired up the 3-ball early in the second half, making 3 of their first four attempts to cut the Richmond lead to 50-30. The surge included two triples from Cugini and a trey from Richardson. UR built the lead back to 23 (60-37) with 10:53 remaining, but another 3-pointer from Richardson cut it to 63-43 with 5:40 to play in the game. HPU could not move any closer for the rest of the contest.
HPU returns to the Millis Center for its home opener against William Peace on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets online or by calling the HPU Ticket Office at (336) 841-9276.
“We’re looking forward to getting back and playing in front of our home crowd for the first time in the regular season,” Cherry said. “This is a tough stretch for us. After Tuesday, we have to play at Clemson and UNCG, then host William & Mary before heading out to play Ohio State. We have to swallow this game. High Point University on the front of that jersey means a lot to me and we need to focus on getting better.”