HPU MBB Hosts First Place Showdown with Asheville

HIGH POINT, N.C. – First place in the Big South is on the line Saturday when the High Point University men’s basketball team (14-5, 5-2) hosts UNC Asheville (9-9, 5-2) inside the Millis Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The first 300 students to attend the game will receive a free HPU replica jersey. Saturday’s game at Radford will be broadcast live on the Big South Network, with Ford Martin and Sean Hamilton on the call. “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.

At 5-2, HPU and UNC Asheville are part of a five-way tie for first place in the Big South standings. The other three teams include Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb.

With a win vs. UNC Asheville, HPU would match the 2006-07 team for the best Big South start in program history (6-2).

High Point has posted a 27-9 (.750) record in the Millis Center since the start of the 2012-13 season. HPU is 7-1 at home this season and has won 14 of its past 15 home games (.933).

Last time out, HPU’s five-game winning streak came to an end at Radford, as the Panthers fell 73-66 to the Highlanders on Thursday inside the Dedmon Center.

HPU led 59-58 with eight minutes to play but were held without a field goal for seven minutes down the stretch to help Radford pull away at the end of the game.

Redshirt-senior junior John Brown led HPU with 21 points (10-16 FG) while chipping in seven rebounds and two blocks. It marked Brown’s eighth 20-point effort of the season.

Brown eclipsed the 1,400-point milestone for his career against Radford. He is now just one of seven players in Big South history to post 1,400 points, 500 rebounds, 100 blocks and 100 steals in his career. His 1,407 points rank fourth-most in HPU Div. I history.

Brown is currently No. 15 on HPU’s all-time scoring list (Div. I and non-Div. I). With 14 points against UNCA, Brown would jump four spots and into No. 11 on the all-time list.

Asheville was picked to finish sixth in the Big South preseason poll and posted a 4-7 mark in non-conference play, before winning five of its first seven league contests. The Bulldogs are 3-6 away from Kimmel Arena this season. In its most recent outing, UNCA stormed past Coastal, 75-65, in Asheville on Thursday. The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Andrew Rowsey, who on Thursday joined John Brown as the only players in Big South history to score 1,000 career points during their sophomore season. He is second in the league with19.6 ppg and is eighth in the nation with a 90.6 free throw percentage. He also is 14th in 3-point field goals made (57). Senior center Jaleel Roberts is 14th in the nation in blocks (2.94 bpg) and is averaging a a team-high 5.8 rebounds per contest.

Saturday’s matchup vs. UNC Asheville will mark the 46th all-time meeting between the Panthers and Bulldogs. UNCA holds a 27-18 edge in the all-time series and has won eight of the past 10 meetings. HPU snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series this past season, winning in Millis (78-67) on Jan. 25, 2014 behind 26 points from John Brown. The teams first met on Dec. 2, 1967, with HPU grabbing a 94-82 win in High Point.

Starting with HPU’s game at Radford Thursday, the Panthers are in the midst of a three games in five days stretch. play three of their next four games on the road. The Purple & White will play three games in the next five days. Next up are contests 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 hits the road for a two-game trip, beginning with a Monday night contest in Clinton, S.C., vs. Presbyterian. 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.