High Point MBB hosts Gardner-Webb Wednesday

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball (14-7, 7-3) returns from a week-long game break to battle Gardner-Webb (11-12, 6-5) on Wednesday night.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Runnin’ Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday’s game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network. In additon, Evan Lepler and Stafford Stephenson will call the game on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

• The Panthers won the first game between the teams, 66-64, on Dec. 5 and have captured six of the past eight meetings.

• The Purple & White are 10-1 at home this season and 29-3 (.907) in their last 32 home games.

• Last time out, HPU improved to 3-2 in Big South road games with a 73-63 win at Campbell on Jan. 27. HPU shot 48.9 percent from the floor and was +3 (27-24) on the glass. The Panthers are 9-1 when they out-rebound their opponent this season.

• The Purple & White connected on 6-of-12 3-point attempts (.500) vs. the Camels. HPU had shot just 25.9 percent from 3-point range in the previous four games (1-3 record).

• Redshirt-senior John Brown led HPU with game highs of 22 points and nine rebounds vs. Campbell. He has posted at least 22 points in each of the past three games.

• Senior Lorenzo Cugini added 16 points, his highest scoring output since the Jan. 2 game at Charleston Southern (six games). Cugini also broke a 2-of-13 slump from 3-point range by making 3-of-4 attempts (.750).

• Adam Weary is averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.0 apg over the past two contests, while Anthony Lindauer is at 12.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

• Cugini is just 29 points away from 1,000 for his career. When he reaches the mark, HPU will be the only team in the nation with a 2,000-point scorer and two 1,000-point scorers.

Head coach Scott Cherry has announced that forward James Manns (Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge), wing Carter Skaggs (Logansport, Ind./Bridgton Academy) and guard Jalen Williams (Clinton, Md./Redlands CC) will join the program beginning in fall 2016. Manns is the No. 6 rated prospect in Columbus (270hoops.com), while Skaggs ranks 7th all-time in Indiana high school basketball history in 3-pointers made. Williams is a junior college transfer and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Redshirt-senior John Brown is the fourth most efficient offensive player in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy, trailing only Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) and Denzel Valentine (Michigan State). The offensive rating system is an advanced statistical formula developed by statistician Dean Oliver.

At halftime of Wednesday’s HPU vs. Gardner-Webb game, the High Point University athletics department will honor the school’s record 309 Millis Scholar-Athletes. To qualify as a Millis Scholar-Athlete, a student-athlete/spirit member (cheer, dance, pep band)/student athletic trainer must have carried a GPA of 3.0 or better in one or both semesters in 2015. In addition, HPU Athletics’ 41 4.0 students will be honored individually for their accomplishments in the classroom.

Gardner-Webb was picked to finish fifth in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll and currently sits t-5th with a 6-5 league mark. The Runnin’ Bulldogs rank eighth in the nation in steals per game (9.1) and also are in the top-30 nationally in offensive rebounds/game (23rd, 13.75) and 3-point field goal attempts (26th, 555). Junior forward Tyrell Nelson leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and leads the Big South in rebounds/contest (8.0). Senior guard Harold McBride is fourth in the league in assists (3.7 apg) and chips in 12.4 ppg.

HPU and Gardner-Webb will meet for the 50th time on Sunday. HPU has won six of the last eight matchups, including a 66-64 victory in Boiling Springs this season on Dec. 5. High Point won the two regular season matchups in 2014-15 (84-72 at GWU, 83-62 at HPU), but fell to the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 72-71 (OT), in the quarterfinals of the Big South Tournament. The two teams first met on Dec. 5, 1970 in High Point with GWU earning a 103-84 victory. In the Dec. 5 game this season, John Brown (16), Anthony Lindauer (16) and Lorenzo Cugini (15) all scored in double figures for the Purple & White.

High Point remains at home for a rematch with Liberty on Saturday (Feb. 6) inside the Millis Center. Tip-off between the Panthers and Flames is set for 7 p.m. LU won the first meeting, 69-67, in Lynchburg on Jan. 23.