High Point NBB drops 69-67 contest at Liberty

• Redshirt-senior John Brown led the Panthers with a game-high 22 points (9-14 FG)
• Liberty made 13-of-27 3-point field goal attempts (.480)
• The Panthers return to action on Wednesday (Jan. 27) at Campbell

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty made 13-of-27 3-point attempts and hit a runner with two seconds to play to upend the High Point University men’s basketball team Saturday in the Vines Center.

The Panthers led 58-53 with 4:22 to play, but Liberty scored on its final six possessions to power past the Purple & White. With the buzzer beating lay-in from LU’s John Dawson, HPU has now lost in the final two seconds a total of three times this season.

HPU drops to 6-3 in league play and 13-7 overall, while the Flames improve to 7-15 (4-5 Big South).

“Liberty made plays when they needed to and we didn’t,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “It was too easy for them on the offensive end. Our guys need to listen and execute better. You have to make stops to win on the road and we didn’t do that today.”

Redshirt-senior John Brown led the Panthers with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. It marked his second-straight 20+ point game and his 10th of the season. With his 18th point, Brown moved past Arizona Reid and into third place on the HPU all-time scoring list (2nd in Div. I era). He now has 2,074 career points.

Brown was one of four Panthers in double figures on the afternoon. Junior guard Anthony Lindauer broke out of a three-game slump with a 13-point effort on 4-of-6 shooting, while senior guard Adam Weary added 12 points (6-7 FG) and a game-high seven assists in 30 minutes.

Senior forward Lorenzo Cugini added 10 points in 33 minutes.

The Panthers shot 55.3 percent (26-47) for the game, but were victimized by a 12-of-20 (.600) effort from the free throw line.

In addition to Liberty’s 13-of-27 day from long distance, the Flames shot 51 percent (26-51) overall and held a significant 33-6 edge in bench scoring.

HPU grabbed an early 11-8 lead, but Liberty hit two straight triples to pull ahead by two (19-17) at the 7:53 mark of the first half. The Flames extended their advantage to six (27-21) with the team’s seventh 3-pointer of the half and Liberty entered the break ahead by five (32-27).

The Flames shot 47 percent (8-17) from long distance in the first half, including four from freshman A.C. Reid. Brown led the Panthers with 13 first half points (6-8 FG).

Liberty led by seven (34-27) early in the second half, but HPU came to life on the strength of a 12-1 run that put the Panthers up six (43-37) at the 14:43 mark of the period. The spurt included triples from Lindauer and Cugini.

HPU extended the lead to eight (47-39) on a lay-in from Weary on the break, but Liberty answered back with a 12-3 run of its own to move back in front, 51-50, with 7:46 to play.

The Panthers went back ahead by five (58-53) with 4:22 to go, but Liberty began its game-winning run with 3:55 to go. Back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Flames a 59-58 advantage with 3:07 remaining. Then, after a strong 3-point play from Brown put the Panthers back up one (63-62), Liberty hit another triple to move ahead 65-63.

With the Flames leading 67-65, Weary hit a runner to tie it up at the 29 second mark, but John Dawson converted a lay-in with two seconds left to escape with the win.

High Point remains on the road Wednesday when the Panthers travel to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell (8-11, 2-7). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Gore Arena – the site of the 2016 Big South Championship.