HPU MBB Hosts Charleston Southern Thursday

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (10-4, 1-1) returns to High Point for the first of two home games in three days Thursday against Charleston Southern (7-6, 1-1).

Tip-off inside the Millis Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday’s game will air live on the Big South Network. Steven Wetherill will handle play-by-play duties, while Sean Hamilton will provide color commentary. The game also will be broadcast on the High Point Panthers Radio Network featuring “Voice of the Panthers” Evan Lepler and Stafford Stephenson. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers are 13-3 in their past 16 Big South conference games. HPU has won seven of its past eight league home games.

Last time out, HPU won a 2OT classic, 90-87, at Winthrop on Jan. 3 in Rock Hill, S.C. 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.

Weary made all eight of his free throws in the two overtime sessions to propel HPU to victory. He has made 22 of his last 23 free throw attempts (.957).

Redshirt-junior forward John Brown just missed his career high with a 33-point effort on 15-of-28 shooting against Winthrop. 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.

HPU is one of just five teams nationally to have played two, multiple overtime games this season. The others are South Dakota, UMKC, Yale and Montana. HPU is the only one of those teams to win both games, as the Panthers defeated Bakersfield, 100-99, in four overtimes to open the season and won at Winthrop (90-87) in double overtime.

HPU grabbed a season-high 48 rebounds against the Eagles on Saturday, including 18 on the offensive glass. It marked the most rebounds by an HPU team since the Panthers grabbed 52 vs. Liberty on Jan. 16, 2013. The 18 offensive rebounds were the most since a 19 offensive rebound effort vs. Longwood on Jan. 30, 2013.

Charleston Southern was picked to finish fifth in the Big South in the league’s preseason poll. The Bucs posted a 6-5 non-conference record, highlighted by a 66-65 OT win at Ole Miss to open the season on Nov. 14. CSU has split its first two Big South games, losing at Coastal (83-74) on Jan. 3 before defeating Campbell, 74-71, at home on Jan 5. The Bucs are led by pre-season all-Big South first team selection Saah Nimley, who paces the team with 16.2 ppg and 4.2 assists per contest and is averaing 24.0 ppg in two league games. Pre-season all-Big South second team pick Arlon Harper is averaging 11.0 ppg, while senior forward Saunders averages 6.0 rpg and chips in 12.4 ppg.

Thursday’s matchup with Charleston Southern will mark the 32nd all-time meeting between the Panthers and Bucs. HPU holds a 16-15 advantage in the all-time series. The Panthers have won three of the last five meetings. CSU has not won at the Millis Center since a 62-52 victory on Jan. 3, 2009. The teams first met on Jan. 9, 1999, with HPU grabbing a 77-75 win in High Point. In the most recent meeting, HPU won 76-70 on Feb. 17 last season in the Millis Center.

Although HPU plays three of its first four conference games at home, the Panthers will face some of the league’s projected top teams to kick off the league campaign. After going 1-1 against the preseason No. 1 CCU pick and No. 4 pick Winthrop, HPU will now face off with No. 5 Charleston Southern on Jan. 8. The Panthers also will play at Gardner-Webb on Jan. 14. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have already taken down Power 5 foes Purdue and Clemson this season.

HPU remains at home to battle Campbell on Saturday, Jan. 10 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.