• Redshirt-senior John Brown posted his 2,000th career point and finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds
• Senior Lorenzo Cugini chipped in 12 points (3-6 3pt FG)
• Winthrop shot 69.2 percent in the second half and outscored HPU, 49-35
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team dropped its first conference game of the season Thursday, falling 86-66 to Winthrop inside the Winthrop Coliseum.
Redshirt-senior John Brown led the Panthers with 25 points (12-23 FG) and 10 rebounds to post his third double-double of the season and 15th of his career. With his 17th point of the game, Brown became just the fourth player in HPU history and ninth in Big South annals to record 2,000 career points.
HPU trailed by six (37-31) at the half, but the Eagles shot 69.2 percent in the second half and held a 49-35 advantage in the final frame.
High Point falls to 12-5 (5-1) on the year, while Winthrop improves to 11-6 (3-3).
“We weren’t ourselves tonight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We worked on our game plan for three days and just didn’t execute it. You have to come out ready to play. No excuses. If you’re not ready in a league game on the other team’s home floor, bad things happen.”
Senior Lorenzo Cugini notched 12 points and connected on 4-of-9 field goal attempts in the game, while senior guard Adam Weary chipped in 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds.
HPU posted its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season at 34.2 percent (26-76), but committed just eight turnovers while forcing 16 Winthrop miscues. High Point grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and held a 17-9 edge in second chance points for the game.
Winthrop scored the first seven points of the game before HPU answered with seven of their own to knot it up early. The Panthers went up 13-9 on a lay-in from Ricky Madison at the 12:47 mark of the first half, but the Eagles utilized a 14-2 run to take a 23-15 lead with 6:47 to go in the stanza.
Winthrop extended the advantage to 11 (35-24) with 2:03 to play in the half, but Brown took over down the stretch of the stanza, scoring seven of HPU’s final 10 points. The performance helped the Panthers close the half on a 7-2 run and trail by six (37-31) at the break.
HPU shot just 32.6 percent (14-43) in the period, but forced 11 Eagle turnovers while committing just three. Brown posted 17 first-half points (8-14 FG) and seven rebounds.
The Eagles scored 15 of the second half’s first 21 points to build a 15-point lead (52-37) at the 15:50 mark of the period. The lead ballooned to 21 (62-41) with 10:56 remaining, but two triples from Cugini helped HPU pull within 14 (64-50) with 9:29 to play. However, the Panthers could not move any closer for the remainder of the game.
High Point returns to the Millis Center to battle Coastal Carolina on Saturday (7 p.m.). The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3, with pre-game coverage on the High Point Panthers Radio Network beginning at 6:30 p.m.