High Point MBB Battles Presbyterian Saturday in Millis

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (11-4, 4-0) returns from a week-long competitive hiatus to battle Presbyterian (7-8, 2-2) on Saturday in the Millis Center.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Blue Hose is set for 4 p.m. Brian Boesch will broadcast Saturday’s game on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. In addition, the game will be streamed live on the Big South Network, featuring commentary from Ford Martin.

• The Purple & White are 27-2 (.931) in their last 29 home games and have won the last 11 contests inside the Millis Center. It’s the longest current home winning streak in the Big South.
• The 11-game home winning streak also marks the second longest in the program’s Div. I history. The Panthers won 15-straight inside Millis from February 2006 to January 2007.
• HPU is 4-0 in Big South play for the first time in nine years. The Panthers began the 2006-07 league slate with a 6-0 mark.
• Last time out, High Point rallied to win at Charleston Southern, 78-73, on Jan. 2 in the Buc Dome. HPU closed the game on a 17-4 run and held the Buccaneers scoreless over the final 4:24.
• Redshirt-senior John Brown led HPU with a game-high 27 points (8-13 FG, 11-13 FT), while senior Lorenzo Cugini tallied 17 points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the 3-point line.
• Brown and Cugini were two of four Panthers to reach double figures in Charleston. Junior Anthony Lindauer posted 11 points and five rebounds, while senior Adam Weary added 10 points and four assists.
• In conference games, Lindauer ranks 10th in the Big South in scoring (13.5 ppg) and is third in 3-point field goal percentage (.556, 10-18).
• The Purple & White are ranked No. 146 out of 351 Div. I teams in the Jan. 8 RPI report. HPU also is No. 90 in the ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 102 in the Ken Pomeroy ratings system.

While no Panthers top the Big South in assists/game this season, HPU leads the conference in helpers due to a plethora of strong passers. Four HPU players rank in the top-15 of the Big South in assists/game this season, including Haiishen McIntyre (8th, 2.93 apg), Adam Weary (9th, 2.87 apg), Jorge Perez-Laham (11th, 2.53 apg) and John Brown (14th, 2.4 apg).

In three of the past five years, a High Point University player has ranked in the top-2 of the nation in 3-point field goal percentage. Lorenzo Cugini leads the country this season (.491), while Devante Wallace was second nationally in 2013-14 (.491). Nick Barbour led the country in 3-point field goal percentage (.484) and was No. 2 in 3-pointers made/game (3.48) during his senior campaign in 2011-12.

Player efficiency rating is an advanced statistic developed by ESPN.com’s John Hollinger that measures a player’s per minute performance. It is one of the best overall metrics to judge a player’s inherent value to his team. Since the stat has been kept for college players (2009-10), John Brown has the second-best career PER of the more than 10,000 players that have competed in Div. I college basketball. Brown is second only to Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets/Morehead State) and ranks ahead of top-10 PER players Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets/Indiana), Jared Sullinger (Boston Celtics/Ohio State) and Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls/Creighton).

Presbyterian College was picked to finish ninth in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll, but the Blue Hose currently sit tied for fourth with a 2-2 league record. The Blue Hose have earned wins at Campbell (70-63) and vs. Longwood (70-63) while dropping games vs. Gardner-Webb (87-76) and at Winthrop (74-70). PC posted a 5-6 non-conference record. Presbyterian ranks 14th in the country in 3-point field goal defense (.292) and is 39th in turnovers forced/game (15.7).

The Blue Hose are led by 2015 Big South Freshman of the Year DeSean Murray, who leads the Big South in scoring (21.1 ppg) during his sophomore campaign (24.8 ppg in league games). Murray also is second in the conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg). Junior guard Markus Terry is second on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and averaging 13.5 points in league play. Freshman guard Darius Moore is the team’s leading assists man (2.5 apg).

Saturday’s matchup will mark the 21st all-time meeting between the Panthers and Blue Hose. HPU holds a 12-8 edge (.600) in the all-time series and has won nine of the past 10 meetings. High Point is 6-4 at home against PC and 5-4 in road tilts. The teams first met on Feb. 11, 1943, with PC earning a 53-41 win in High Point. Last season, HPU won both matchups, including a 63-54 victory in Clinton on Jan. 26 and a 67-58 win on Senior Night (Feb. 21) in the Millis Center. John Brown (15.0 ppg) and Lorenzo Cugini (11.5 ppg) both averaged 10+ points over the two game series in 2015-16.

High Point recently wrapped up a three games in six days stretch with the Jan. 2 game at Charleston Southern. HPU earned wins over Methodist (96-50), Radford (77-60) and Charleston Southern (78-73) during the swing. HPU now plays just two games in 12 days. That duo of contests includes the game vs. Presbyterian (Jan. 9) and a road contest at Winthrop (Jan. 14) that will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU. After the PC contest, HPU’s next three games at Winthrop, vs. Coastal Carolina (Jan. 16) and vs. UNC Asheville (Jan. 20) are all against conference championship contenders.

High Point and Winthrop battle in a primetime matchup Thursday (Jan. 14) on ESPNU. Tip-off in Rock Hill, S.C., between the Panthers and Eagles is set for 7 p.m.