HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team will look to move to 8-2 in Big South play for the first time in program history Thursday when the Panthers head to Lynchburg for a matchup with Liberty.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Vines Center. Thursday’s game will be streamed nationally on ESPN3. “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 the halfway point of the Big South slate, High Point (16-5) sits atop the league standings with a 7-2 mark in conference games.
HPU is 6-4 (.600) in true road games this season. The Panthers are 3-1 on the road in league play. HPU’s best road winning percentage in its Division I history is .500 (8-8), set during the 2003-04 season.
The Panthers are 19-4 in their past 23 Big South conference games. HPU has won seven of its past nine league road games.
Last time out, HPU picked up another road win with a 63-54 triumph at Presbyterian on Monday. The Panthers held PC to 40.4 percent shooting, including 18.8 percent (3-16) from beyond the arc.
The Panthers have limited their opponents to 58.7 ppg and 39.9 percent (67-168) shooting over its last two games.
HPU hit the 50 percent shooting plateau (.523) for the third-straight game Monday against Presbyterian. HPU is 7-1 when it shoots 50 percent or better this season.
Junior forward Lorenzo Cugini led the Panthers with 15 points (3-4 3pt FG) and dished out a season-high three assists against the Blue Hose. The Stow, Ohio, native is averaging 12.3 ppg in league play and shooting 61.2 percent (59.5 from 3-point territory).
Redshirt-junior John Brown chipped in 13 points against Presbyterian. He currently ranks 11th on HPU’s all-time scoring list (Div I and non-Div. I) with 1,435 points. He is just 23 points away from moving into the No. 8 spot all-time at High Point.
A LOOK AT THE FLAMES (6-15, 0-8)
Liberty was picked to finish ninth in the Big South preseason poll and posted a 6-7 mark in non-conference play. Liberty has dropped its first eight Big South games. LU is 6-4 at home this season, but 0-9 on the road. In its most recent outing, Liberty fell at Radford, 84-76, on Jan. 24. In league play, junior forward David Andoh leads the team with 11.4 ppg and is pulling down 5.3 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Joe Retic is averaging 10.3 ppg in league play but is expected to miss the next few weeks due to injury.
HISTORY vs. LIBERTY
Thursday’s matchup at Liberty will mark the 35th all-time meeting between the Panthers and Flames. Liberty holds a 19-15 edge in the all-time series but HPU swept two games against the Flames last season. HPU won 76-70 in Lynchburg on Jan. 18, 2014 and won the return game in High Point, 67-60, on Feb. 19. Adam Weary (22) and John Brown (21) each eclipsed the 20-point plateau in HPU’s win in Lynchburg last season. The teams first met on Jan. 23, 1999, with HPU winning 93-89 in overtime in Millis.
QUICK TURNAROUNDS NO PROBLEM FOR THE PANTHERS
HPU has excelled in games in which preparation is at a premium this season. The Panthers are a perfect 5-0 in games that tip less than two days after the conclusion of their previous contest. HPU defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (74-62) and Hawai’i (62-54) on short rest during the Rainbow Classic, then defeated Campbell (69-62) after a Thursday/Saturday Big South turnaround. In HPU’s most recent three games in five days stretch, the Panthers defeated UNC Asheville (72-51) and won at Presbyterian (62-54) on less than 48 hours rest.
HPU returns home to host Radford on Tuesday (Feb. 3) at 7 p.m. inside the Millis Center. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3, with streaming audio on the High Point Panthers Radio Network beginning at 6:30 p.m.