HPU MBB Battles Radford Thursday in Virginia

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team looks to earn its fourth-consecutive road win Thursday when the Panthers take on Radford at the Dedmon Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network. “Voice of the Panthers” Evan Lepler and Stafford Stephenson also will call the game on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

HPU is off to its best start (14-4) since the 1993-94 season. The team’s 5-1 league start is its best since 2006-07. The Panthers have posted a 7-3 record in road and neutral site contests so far in 2014-15. HPU is 2-0 in league road games.

The Panthers are 8-1 in their past nine games and have captured five-straight victories.

Last time out, HPU defeated Longwood, 72-67, on Monday night inside the Millis Center. The victory moved HPU into a tie with Coastal Carolina for first place in the Big South standings.

Senior guard Devante Wallace led HPU with 16 points and seven rebounds and knocked down 4-of-7 3-point field goals against the Lancers. HPU is 7-2 this season when he makes two or more 3-pointers in a game.

Wallace was one of four Panthers in double figures against Longwood. The quartet also included Lorenzo Cugini (15 pts, 6-9 FG), Adam Weary (15 pts, 8-8 FT) and John Brown (14 pts).

HPU made of 23-of-28 (.821) free throws against Radford. The Panthers lead the Big South in free throw percentage overall (.747) and in league play (.798). The Panthers are 17th nationally in free throw percentage and are 12-1 when they shoot 70 percent or better from the line.

Junior forward Lorenzo Cugini has started conference play off with a bang while providing a huge offensive spark for the Panthers during its 5-1 league start. The Stow, Ohio, native leads the league in both field goal percentage (.638) and 3-point field goal percentage (.615) in league games and has posted at least 10 points in HPU’s last three contests. Against Campbell on Jan. 10, Cugini poured in a career-best 24 points (9-13 FG) and made a career best six 3-point field goals in seven attempts for HPU.

Redshirt-junior John Brown has been named to the mid-season watch list for the Lou Henson Award, given annually to the top mid-major player in college basketball. Brown is one of 24 players nationwide to have been selected for both the pre-season and mid-season watch lists.

A LOOK AT RADFORD (12-7, 3-3)
Radford was picked to finish third in the Big South preseason poll and posted a 9-4 record in non-conference play. The Highlanders’ non-conference slate featured a win over ACC foe Virginia Tech on Dec. 7 in Blacksburg. The Highlanders are 7-1 inside the Dedmon Center. Radford has won its last three league games after starting the conference slate 0-3. In its most recent outing, Radford got past Winthrop, 85-77, in Rock Hill on Jan. 17. RU is led by preseason first-team all-Big South selection Javonte Green, who is averaging a team-best 14.4 ppg and is second in the Big South with 8.8 rebounds per contest. Green is up to 18.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg in conference play. Junior guard Rashun Davis is averaging a team-best 4.6 assists/game and is chipping in 9.0 points per contest.

Thursday’s matchup at Radford will mark the 38th all-time meeting between the Panthers and Highlanders. Radford holds a 21-17 lead (.553) in the all-time series and has won seven of the past 10 meetings. The teams split two meetings last season, with HPU winning 72-65 in Radford on Feb. 15. The Highlanders took the game in the Millis Center, 81-72, on Jan. 10. The teams first met on Jan. 15, 1980, with HPU earning a 59-40 victory in High Point.

Starting with HPU’s game at Radford Thursday, the Panthers will play three of their next four games on the road. The Purple & White will play three games in the next five days, including games at Radford (Thursday), vs. UNC Asheville (Jan. 24) and at Presbyterian (Jan. 26). The Panthers are 3-0 this season in games tipped within 48 hours of their previous contest.

HPU returns to the Millis Center to take on UNC Asheville at Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Big South Network, with pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network beginning at 6:30 p.m.