• High Point moves to 2-0 in Big South play for the first time since 2010-11
• Anthony Lindauer (16 pts, 6-9 FG) and John Brown (16 pts, 8 reb) led HPU in scoring
• The Purple & White limited Gardner-Webb to 36.5 percent shooting for the game
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team withstood a furious second-half rally from Gardner-Webb to prevail down the stretch during a 66-64 road victory Saturday night in Paul Porter Arena.
High Point (6-2, 2-0 Big South) led 40-26 at the half and 66-59 with 47 seconds to play. But Gardner-Webb (3-6, 1-1) took advantage of a pair of turnovers from High Point in the final minute to move within two (66-64) with 10 seconds to play. However, HPU defended well on Gardner-Webb’s final possession and escaped with the important conference road victory.
With the victory, HPU improves to 2-0 in Big South play for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
“A win is a win on the road in conference play,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We’ll take it. We should’ve finished the game better. Offensively, I’m not sure what was wrong in the second half, but we weren’t very good. But we limited them defensively and fought hard. We just need to stress the importance of playing a full 40 minutes moving forward.”
High Point shot 51.5 percent in the opening half but went 1-for-9 to start the second half. HPU finished 27-of-56 overall (.482), but was victimized by a 7-of-16 (.438) effort at the free throw line and nine second half turnovers.
But HPU got it done defensively, limiting Gardner-Webb to 36.5 percent shooting (.365), including a paltry 5-of-25 (.200) effort from long range. The Panthers also forced 16 turnovers and made seven steals on the night.
Junior guard Anthony Lindauer posted 16 points (6-9 FG) and made two triples in 25 minutes on the floor, including a number of big shots down the stretch. Senior Lorenzo Cugini continued his red-hot play with 15 points (5-7 FG) and made three of his four 3-point attempts, while redshirt-senior John Brown posted 16 points (8-15 FG) and a team-high eight rebounds.
Junior forward Tarique Thompson continued to put together extremely efficient minutes off the bench for HPU, posting eight points (4-8 FG) and four rebounds in 17 minutes of work.
Gardner-Webb held an early 7-6 lead, but HPU responded with a 13-2 run to build a 19-9 advantage at the 10:11 mark of the first half. The surge included a 3-pointer from Cugini and two nice finishes from Thompson.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs cut the HPU lead to seven (26-19), but the Panthers blitzed back with another run, this time of the 11-2 variety, to open up the lead to 16 (37-21) with 1:43 to go in the half.
The Panthers entered the break ahead 40-26. HPU shot 51.5 percent (17-33) in the period and limited the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 34.5 percent (10-29), including a 3-of-13 mark (.231) from 3-point territory. Brown led the Purple & White with 12 first-half points.
HPU came out of the gate sluggish in the second half and the Runnin’ Bulldogs took advantage. The Panthers were just 1-of-9 from the field to start the stanza and GWU used a 10-0 run during the stretch to move within four (42-38) at the 13:33 mark of the half.
HPU scored the next six points to boost the lead back to 10 (48-38) and led by nine (51-42) after a 3-pointer from Cugini with 7:56 to go. A lay-in from Thompson kept the Purple & White in front by 10 (60-50) with 4:07 to play and HPU held a 66-59 lead with less than a minute to play. From there, HPU bent, but didn’t break to get out of Boiling Springs with the victory.
High Point is now 2-2 on the road in 2015-16 and improves to 6-2 overall for the second-straight campaign.
HPU returns to non-conference play with a marquee intra-Triad rivalry game on Wednesday (Dec. 9). The Panthers host UNCG at 7 p.m. inside the Millis Center. Pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network begins at 6:30 p.m.