• Senior guard Devante Wallace scored 11-straight points for HPU during a key two-minute stretch in the second half to turn a 3-point HPU lead into a 12-point lead
• Redshirt-junior forward John Brown led HPU with a game-high 24 pts and is averaging 25.0 ppg over the last two games
• The Panthers improve to 5-2 for the first time since the 2005-06 season
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Behind a crucial second-half surge piloted by senior Devante Wallace, the High Point University men’s basketball team (5-2) earned a 76-68 win over intra-Triad rival UNCG (1-6) Monday night inside Greensboro Coliseum.
With HPU leading 52-49 with 8:20 to go, Wallace posted 11-straight points for the Panthers, keying an 11-2 HPU run that extended the lead to 12 (63-51). The Spartans closed to within four (72-68) with less than a minute to go, but the Panthers hit their free throws down the stretch to earn their fourth win over UNCG in five Division I meetings.
The Panthers won the game in front of a quite partisan HPU crowd that included a massive collection of students that arrived at the game on 10 charter buses.
“The support was fantastic tonight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “I appreciate [UNCG Head] Coach [Wes] Miller wanting to continue this series because I think it’s great for the community and this area. The crowd was a huge factor. We appreciate Dr. Qubein, the administration, the students and Panther Club members that took time out of their night to be here. They came out to support these guys and they rewarded them with a victory.”
Free throw shooting was the name of the game Monday night in a contest that featured 45 fouls. HPU hit 28-of-33 (.848) free throws in the game and held a +17 edge at the line over the Spartans. UNCG connected on just 9-of-15 attempts (.600) at the charity stripe.The Panthers shot 42.9 percent (21-49) from the field and held an 18-10 advantage in bench scoring. HPU also was +8 (33-25) on the glass and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the game.
Redshirt-junior forward John Brown led HPU with a game-high 24 points (7-13 FG) and connected on 10-of-12 free throw attempts in the contest. Brown is averaging 25.0 ppg over High Point’s last two games. With his 19th point of the night, the Jacksonville, Fla., native passed Dustin Van Weerdhuizen (2000-03) and moved into 22nd on the HPU all-time scoring list.
Wallace finished the game with 15 points (7-8 FT) and a team-high seven rebounds, while junior Lorenzo Cugini posted a season-high 15 points (3-7 3pt FG) and chipped in four rebounds.
UNCG held a 12-8 lead early in the game before HPU responded with a 7-1 run to take a 15-13 lead at the 10:57 mark of the first half. With the score knotted at 21-21, HPU heated up from the floor, using a 14-3 run over the next three minutes to build a 35-24 lead with two minutes to play in the half. The surge included two triples from Wallace and a 3-pointer from Cugini.
HPU entered the break ahead, 35-27. The Panthers shot 42.9 percent in the half but connected on 5-of-11 (.455) 3-point attempts to grab the halftime lead. Cugini led the Purple & White with 11 first half points.
UNCG cut it to two (35-33) in the first two minutes of the second half, before HPU raced back with an 8-0 run to build a 45-35 advantage. From there, UNCG answered with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 45-45 with 10 minutes to go.
The teams went back and forth for the next two minutes before HPU made its move ahead 52-49 with 8:20 to play. At that point, Wallace took over, scoring 11-straight points for HPU to moved the Panthers ahead, 63-51, with 5:08 to go. The Wallace surge included a 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line, a driving lay-in and a big 3-pointer.
UNCG used a 7-1 run late to make it interesting, cutting the HPU lead to 72-68 with less than a minute to play. But redshirt-senior Brian Richardson and junior Haiishen McIntyre both went 2-of-2 from the line over the final minute to send the Panthers home with the win.
With the victory, HPU improves to 5-2 for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.
HPU returns to the Millis Center to play the back half of a home-and-home series with CAA foe William & Mary on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network, with streaming audio featuring “Voice of the Panthers” Evan Lepler also available via highpointpanthers.com. HPU won at W&M, 80-69, on Nov. 20 last season.