HPU MBB back in first after 73-69 win over Asheville

• Redshirt-senior John Brown posted a game-high 26 points (11-16 FG), 10 rebounds and four blocks
• HPU was +22 (45-23) on the glass and +16 (22-6) in second chance points
• With the victory, High Point moves back into first place in the Big South standings

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Behind a stellar performance from John Brown, the High Point University men’s basketball team (13-6, 6-2) earned an important 73-69 win over UNC Asheville (13-7, 6-2) on Wednesday night inside the Millis Center.

The Bulldogs had two chances to tie the game in the final 30 seconds, but the Panthers grabbed a pair of critical stops to take home the hard fought victory.

With the victory, HPU snapped a two-game skid and moved into a tie with UNC Asheville for first place in the Big South standings. With just one matchup between the teams in 2015-16, High Point now holds an important head-to-head tie-breaker over the Bulldogs that could be of use at regular season’s end.

“This is a good league win in January against an excellent Asheville team that’s been playing very well,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “I thought defensively, especially in the first half, we were very good and then we just gutted it out and made plays at the end. Our guys stepped up when they had to.”

Brown put together a super-human offensive efficiency rating of 33.0 on the strength of a game-high 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting. The Julius Erving Award nominee also grabbed 10 rebounds (six offensive) and blocked four shots in 24 minutes. The outing marked his fourth double-double of the year and 17th of his career.

Brown’s effort helped propel HPU to victory on a night in which the Panthers committed a season-high 21 turnovers and shot 20 percent from 3-point territory. But HPU put together an impressive +22 (45-23) rebounding margin and grabbed 18 offensive boards. That extra effort fueled the Panthers to a 22-6 edge in second chance points for the game.

HPU also forced 18 Bulldog turnovers and made 11 steals in the game.

Freshman Andre Fox posted nine points and a career high seven rebounds to provide a spark off the bench for the Panthers, while senior point guard Haiishen McIntyre chipped in eight points, four assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes.

Senior guard Adam Weary tallied seven points and five rebounds and junior forward Tarique Thompson notched six points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

It was an offensive struggle for the game’s first eight minutes, as the two teams played to a 9-9 tie and shot a combined 8-of-28 from the floor. From there, buckets from freshmen Ricky Madison and Andre Fox fueled an 8-0 HPU run that gave the Panthers a 17-9 lead at the 9:57 mark of the half.

The Bulldogs used a 9-2 spurt to move within one (19-18), but HPU responded with an 8-2 surge of its own to go back up seven (27-20) with 3:12 to play in the period.

Asheville scored six of the final eight points of the half to cut HPU’s lead to three (29-26) at the break.

Brown rocketed out of the gate for the Panthers in the second half, scoring 9 of the team’s first 11 points. The streak helped HPU move ahead by six (40-34) at the 17:13 mark of the half.

Asheville rallied back to tie the score at 46-46 with 12:48 to play, but HPU built the lead back to four (56-52) and extended the edge five (59-54) on a 3-point play from Weary with 6:04 to go.

A 3-pointer from Fox pushed HPU ahead by seven (69-62) with 2:10 to go, but from there, Asheville put together five straight points to cut the lead to two (69-67) with 1:09 left.

McIntyre got it back to four (71-67) with a clutch lay-in and 53 seconds to go, and the Panthers made their stops over the final minute to pick up the win.

With the victory, HPU improves to 10-1 at home this season and 29-3 in its last 32 home games. The Panthers have won four-straight against UNC Asheville.

High Point hits the road for a (potentially) snowy Saturday showdown with Liberty (6-15, 3-5) in Lynchburg. Tip-off between the Panthers and Flames is set for noon. The game will be televised on the American Sports Network.