• The Panthers erased a 3-point deficit with 30 seconds to play in OT to surge to the double overtime win
• Redshirt-junior forward John Brown tallied a season-high 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead HPU
• Junior Adam Weary tallied 15 points and made 8-of-8 free throw attempts in the overtime sessions
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (10-4, 1-1) used a sensational comeback effort to power past Winthrop (6-7, 1-1) in double overtime, 90-87, on Saturday inside the Winthrop Coliseum.
HPU trailed by three with 30 seconds left in the first overtime session, but junior Adam Weary hit six huge free throws down the stretch to send the game into double overtime. From there, HPU built a four-point lead (83-79), then trailed by two (85-83), before ultimately prevailing in the second overtime session.
After surging past Bakersfield in four overtimes in the season opener in Hawai’i, HPU once again made the big plays when they mattered to capture another multiple overtime victory.
“This was a great, high-level game played by two very good basketball teams,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “Our guys gave it everything they had and we got better today. This is a great road win. It’s one game, but our guys came up big. John [Brown] did what he does and was a warrior out there, and Adam stepped up and hit big free throws in overtime.”
Brown certainly put together a signature JB game, as the Jacksonville, Fla., native just missed his career high with a 33-point effort on 15-of-28 shooting. Brown also grabbed eight rebounds and tallied two blocks in 42 minutes of action. It marked the second 30-point effort of his career, surpassed only by a 34-point effort at Radford last season.
Weary chipped in 15 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 mark from the free throw line in the two overtime sessions. He also notched two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
Redshirt-senior Brian Richardson added 13 points (3-5 3pt FG), while senior Devante Wallace notched eight points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds in the game. Junior Lorenzo Cugini registered nine points (4-5 FG) and eight rebounds for the Panthers.
The Panthers shot 45 percent (36-80) from the floor and connected on 6-of-12 (.500) 3-point attempts in the game. HPU limited Winthrop to 42.6 percent (29-68), including a meager 6-of-24 (.250) from 3-point territory.
HPU drove the ball inside all night and held 50-42 edge in points in the paint for the game. The Panthers also connected on 70.6 percent (12-17) from the free throw line, but made 11-of-12 (.917) from the charity stripe in the overtime sessions. HPU is now 8-1 when it shoots 70 percent or better from the free throw line.
HPU jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, before Winthrop scored 10 of the next 12 points to go up 12-9 seven minutes into the game. Weary banged home a 3-pointer to tie the score at 14-14 and from there, HPU put together a blitzing 18-2 surge that gave the Panthers a 29-16 lead with 5:32 to play in the half. The run included two buckets from Brown and five-straight points from Richardson.
Winthrop responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to six (29-23) with 3:32 to play in the period, but HPU scored four of the final six points of the half to take a 33-25 lead into the break.
HPU shot 50 percent (15-30) in the period and held a +10 edge (22-12) on the glass. Brown paced the Panthers with 10 points (5-7 FG) in the stanza.
The teams went back and forth in the first five minutes of the second half before a 3-pointer from sophomore point guard Jorge Perez-Laham extended the HPU lead to 42-33. Winthrop used an 8-2 run to cut the HPU advantage to three (44-41), but the Panthers surged back with a 10-2 run of their own to reclaim an 11-point lead (54-43) with 9:43 to play.
Winthrop would not go away, as the Eagles climbed right back to within four at 59-55 with four minutes to go. On the strength of a 15-2 run, the Eagles claimed their first lead of the second half with a 3-pointer to take a 65-63 lead with 1:02 to go. With the Panthers down 65-63, Brown converted a clutch lay-in to tie the game, then swatted Winthrop’s attempt at a final possession shot on the other end. Devante Wallace’s last-second regulation attempt hit back rim and the game went to overtime.
In the first OT, Winthrop led 74-71 with 30 seconds to play, before the Eagles started to foul to prevent HPU from hitting a game-tying 3-pointer. The sequence happened three times, with Adam Weary heading to the line all three times. The Memphis native hit all six of the attempts, including the third trip, in which Winthrop mistakenly fouled with the Eagles ahead by two (77-75). Weary hit the two clutch shots with two seconds to play to send the game into a second overtime.
In the final overtime period, Brown converted on two-straight possessions to put HPU up 81-77 with four minutes to go. With HPU ahead 83-79, Winthrop’s Keon Moore hit two straight triples to put WU up 85-83 with 1:18 to play. But Brown hit two free throws on the ensuing Panther possession to tie it up. Then, on the defensive end, junior Haiishen McIntyre blocked a shot, then sprinted up court and took a pass from Wallace, converted, and gave HPU an 87-85 lead. Winthrop missed on the next possession, and Weary hit two free throws to give HPU a four-point lead it would not relinquish.
With the victory, HPU improves to 2-0 in overtime games this season and 6-1 in games decided by less than 10 points.
The Panthers return home to battle Charleston Southern on Thursday, Jan. 8 inside the Millis Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., with pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network beginning at 6:30 p.m.