• Anthony Lindauer (18), John Brown (17) and Adam Weary (15) led HPU in scoring
• NC State’s Cat Barber hit the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired
• HPU’s three losses in 2015-16 have come to Power 5 schools by a total of 10 points
RALEIGH, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team came mere seconds from knocking off ACC foe North Carolina State on Wednesday, falling to the Wolfpack, 76-73, on a Cat Barber buzzer beater inside PNC Arena.
High Point (8-3) had the ball with 19 seconds remaining and a chance to win on the final possession, but NC State’s Cody Martin came up with a critical steal on the inbounds pass. Beejay Anya missed both free throw attempts on the ensuing possession, but the Wolfpack grabbed the offensive rebound to set up a play. Barber knocked down the game winner as the horn sounded.
The Panthers played perhaps their most complete game of the season in an extraordinary all-around effort for the Purple & White.
HPU trailed 76-73 at the half, but shot 46.9 percent (15-32) in the second half, including a 54.5 percent mark (6-11) from beyond the arc, to give itself a chance to win down the stretch. HPU held the lead for much of the game’s final five minutes and hit a number of clutch shots as the clock wound down.
HPU limited NC State to 43.1 percent shooting (28-65) for the game and competed in nearly every statistical category with the Wolfpack.
High Point’s three losses this season have come by a combined 10 points to Power 5 schools Texas Tech, Georgia and now NC State.
“I’m really proud of my kids. They played really hard and believed they could win from the minute they stepped into the arena,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “I’m just disappointed and take responsibility for not getting them where they needed to be at the end. I would’ve loved to see what we could’ve done on that final possession. It’s hard, but it’s part of sports. We’ve been a part of three of these games against Big 12, SEC and ACC teams – I’m excited about our team moving forward. We deserve one of these.”
Junior Anthony Lindauer provided a huge spark for the Purple & White right from the get go, posting 15 of his 18 points in the first half to help keep HPU right with the Wolfpack. Lindauer finished 6-of-11 from the field (3-5 3pt FG) and grabbed seven rebounds while distributing three assists.
Redshirt-senior John Brown battled players twice his girth for much of the game and held his own, grabbing seven offensive rebounds to go along with 17 points, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 32 minutes.
Senior guard Adam Weary chipped in 15 points (7-10 FG), three assists and two steals in 34 minutes. With his third basket of the second half, Weary became the 31st player in HPU history (seventh in the DI era) to reach 1,000 career points.
Senior Lorenzo Cugini posted all 12 of his points in the second half and hit a crucial 4-of-5 3-point attempts in the final stanza to give HPU a chance to win.
HPU gained a strong advantage at the free throw stripe, where NC State hit just 59.1 percent (13-22) of its attempts. The Panthers – who entered the game shooting just 55.3 percent from the line in road games – made 92.9 percent (13-14) of their attempts.
NC State grabbed its major edge on the glass, where the Wolfpack held a +11 advantage (44-33) and used 20 offensive rebounds to gain a 21-10 edge in second chance points.
The two teams played to an early 11-11 tie, before the Wolfpack used a 6-0 run to build a six-point advantage (17-11) at the 11:41 mark of the first half. Behind a smooth lay-in and 3-pointer from Lindauer, HPU stormed back with a 7-0 spurt of its own to take a 22-21 lead with 7:16 to play in the stanza.
Brown tied the score at 27-27 with a second effort bucket, but NC State scored nine of the final 13 points of the half to take a 36-31 lead into the break. Lindauer posted 15 points (5-7 FG, 2-2 3pt FG) in the opening half.
Cugini nailed two 3-pointers to start the second half and pull the Panthers within two (39-37). Then, an Adam Weary 3-point play, followed by a smooth triple from Lindauer pushed HPU ahead, 45-44, at the 16:42 mark of the second half.
NC State answered right back with a 9-2 run to build a 55-49 advantage, but from there, the back and forth action continued. Weary nailed an 18-footer, then picked off a Wolfpack pass a couple possessions later. He converted the transition lay-in to fuel a 9-0 run that gave High Point a 58-55 lead with 8:34 to go.
The Wolfpack regained the lead (63-60) with 6:44 to go, but from there, HPU started hitting a series of big shots.
Junior guard Jorge Perez-Laham hit a 3-pointer from his sweet spot in the corner to put High Point up 68-66. Then, after NC State took a 71-70 lead, Cugini nailed a spot up triple to give HPU a 73-71 edge with 1:48 to go.
But NC State held the Panthers scoreless over the final 1:48, scoring the last five points of the game to escape with the win.
High Point wraps up its two-game road trip with a contest at William & Mary on Monday (Dec. 21). Tip-off in Williamsburg, Va., is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Tribe has posted a 5-3 record this season.