HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (21-7, 12-4) makes its third ESPNU appearance of the season Thursday when the Panthers head to UNC Asheville (13-14, 9-7) for a critical Big South clash.
Tip-off between the Panthers and Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday’s ESPNU broadcast features commentary from Adnan Virk (play-by-play) and Steve Donahue (color commentary). In addition, “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.
With a 12-4 league record, HPU is tied with Charleston Southern for first place in the Big South standings. Coastal Carolina is a half game back (12-5), while Winthrop and Radford both sit at 11-5. HPU has already locked up a first-round bye in next week’s Big South Championship.
After Thursday’s matchup, the Panthers wrap up the regular season at Charleston Southern on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
HPU has won 20+ games for just the second time in its Div. I history and 18th time in the 87-year history of the program. With a win Thursday, the Panthers would tie the program’s Div. I wins record, set originally in 2006-07 (22-10).
High Point is 8-5 (.615) in road games this season. The Panthers are 5-2 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. A win Thursday would give HPU new Div. I program records for road wins (9) and league road victories (6).
Last time out, HPU sent its seniors out in style with a 67-58 win over Presbyterian Saturday in the team’s home finale. Redshirt-junior John Brown registered a team-high 17 points while HPU held a commanding 43-4 edge in bench scoring for the game.
DEFENSE STEPS UP IN CONFERENCE PLAY
High Point leads the Big South in scoring defense (64.9 ppg) in league play and is second in overall games (66.5 ppg). Since the overtime win at Winthrop on Jan. 3 (14 games), HPU opponents are averaging just 62.0 ppg.
A LOOK AT THE BULLDOGS (13-14, 9-7)
Asheville was picked to finish sixth in the Big South preseason poll and posted a 4-7 mark in non-conference play before registering a 9-7 record to begin league play. The Bulldogs are 8-5 inside Kimmel Arena this season. The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Andrew Rowsey who along with John Brown is one of only two players in Big South history to reach 1,000 career points during their sophomore season. He is fifth in the league with 17.9 ppg and is third in the nation with a 92.4 free throw percentage. He also is 18th in 3-point field goals made/game (3.00). Senior center Jaleel Roberts is 26th in the nation in blocks (2.62 bpg) and is averaging a a team-high 5.2 rebounds per contest.
HISTORY vs. UNC ASHEVILLE
Thursday’s matchup vs. UNC Asheville will mark the 47th all-time meeting between the Panthers and Bulldogs. UNCA holds a 27-19 edge in the all-time series, although HPU has won the last two meetings. The Panthers have not won at UNC Asheville since a 69-67 victory on Feb. 14, 2007. High Point won the first meeting this season, 72-51, behind 15 points and seven rebounds from John Brown. The teams first met on Dec. 2, 1967, with HPU grabbing a 94-82 win in High Point.
HPU wraps up the regular season Saturday with a 4:30 p.m. contest at Charleston Southern. Coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 4 p.m.