Historic HPU Men’s Basketball Season Ends At EKU, 66-65

• The Panthers held advantages in rebounding (36-25), points in the paint (32-24) and bench scoring (18-6)
• Redshirt-junior John Brown led the Panthers with 23 points (10-13 FG) and eight rebounds in the game
• High Point’s extraordinary season ends with a Div. I school record 23 wins, nine road victories and the first post-season win in program history.

RICHMOND, Ky. – The High Point University men’s basketball team put forth a stellar effort on both ends of the floor Friday night but ultimately fell at Eastern Kentucky, 66-65, in second round CIT action.

The Panthers erased a seven-point deficit (64-57) with four minutes to play and held a one-point edge (65-64) with less than a minute to go. But the Colonels’ Corey Walden converted a lay-in with 15 seconds to play and a last second HPU shot was no good as EKU escaped with the victory.

High Point’s extraordinary season ends with a Div. I school record 23 wins, nine road victories and the first post-season win in program history.

“I’m just so proud of our guys and the way they played with such difficult circumstances on a short turnaround,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “For our guys to come out and play the way they did with little time to prepare speaks for the resilience of our kids and the way they fought the entire game.”

The Colonels made 13 3-pointers in the game and converted on 52 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, but High Point withstood the barrage by owning a strong +11 (36-25) edge on the glass and holding advantages in points in the paint (32-24) and bench scoring (18-6). HPU kept the Colonels out of the paint and limited EKU to just two free throw attempts in the contest. HPU was +12 (13-1) in free throws made for the game.

Redshirt-junior John Brown posted his second-straight 23-point effort and made 10-of-13 field goal attempts in the game. The Jacksonville, Fla., native also grabbed eight rebounds (five offensive) in 35 minutes of work. Brown posted at least 23 points in High Point’s final four games of the 2014-15 campaign.

Senior guard Devante Wallace tallied 13 points and made 3-of-6 3-point attempts in the game. Wallace ends his career second all-time at HPU in 3-point percentage (.424) and third in 3-pointers made (184).

Sophomore guard Anthony Lindauer played 22 minutes and posted eight points while converting 2-of-3 3-point attempts. Junior guard Adam Weary matched a career-high with seven assists and chipped in five points for the Panthers.

HPU jumped out to an early 13-7 lead before the Colonels used a 6-0 run to build a three-point advantage (18-15) at the 7:20 mark of the first half. EKU extended the edge to 30-20 on the strength of a 9-0 run, but five straight points from Brown cut the EKU lead to five (32-27) with a minute to go in the opening half. The Colonels took a 34-29 lead into the break.

HPU shot 37 percent (10-27) in the period but withstood eight first half 3-pointers from EKU by holding a 22-15 edge on the boards and a 14-10 advantage in points in the paint. Brown led the Panthers with 12 first half points.

The Purple & White scored six of the first eight points of the second half to tie the score at 36-36, but EKU surged in front by nine (50-41) on the strength of a 6-0 run midway through the half. HPU answered with a 7-0 run of its own to move within two (50-48) with 9:56 to play. The run ballooned to 14-3 after a Wallace 3-pointer gave HPU a 55-53 lead at the 7:32 mark of the second half.

But from there, Eastern Kentucky used a trio of 3-pointers to put together a 9-2 run and a 64-57 advantage with 4:02 to play. HPU raced back with a critical 8-0 run, including lay-ins from Brown and Cugini, to move ahead 65-64 with 19.8 seconds to go. But EKU scored on its final possession and a Lindauer shot at the buzzer was no good as the Colonels escaped with the victory.

“I want to thank our seniors for all they’ve done for our program over the course of their careers,” Cherry said. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to play in the postseason. The experience our younger players received, being a part of the first postseason win in school history, will be so valuable heading into next year. There were so many firsts accomplished by our team this season. I’m excited about what’s to come with this program.”