High Point and Longwood MBB tussle in Farmville Thursday

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (16-9, 9-5) plays the first game of two-game road swing Thursday at Longwood (8-19, 4-10).

Tip-off between the Panthers and Lancers is set for 7 p.m. inside Willett Hall. Thursday’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.

• HPU has won nine of the past 10 meetings with the Lancers, including the last two in Farmville.

• Last time out, HPU won its second-straight game with a 72-50 home win over Charleston Southern Saturday. The 50 points were the fewest allowed by HPU since the Dec. 28 game vs. Methodist.

• HPU limited CSU to just 18.2 percent (4-22) shooting from 3-point range. Panther opponents are shooting just 22.2 percent (8-36) from deep over the past two games, compared to 42.8 percent (65-152) during the team’s 2-5 stretch from Jan. 14-Feb. 6.

• High Point is averaging a +7.5 rebounding margin over its past two games (+0.9 for the season).

• The Panthers held a 28-9 edge in bench scoring for the game against CSU. After being outscored 115-36 over a four-game span by opponent reserves from Jan. 23-Feb. 6, the Panther bench is +31 (58-27) over the past two contests.

• Redshirt-senior John Brown led HPU with 16 points and seven rebounds vs. the Buccaneers while freshman Andre Fox and senior Adam Weary each added 15 points. Fox has averaged 13.5 points over HPU’s past two games and made 3-of-4 3-pointers vs. CSU.

• Weary is averaging 15.0 points, 3.7 assists and is shooting 55.9 percent (.538 3pt FG) over the past six games.

• Brown has made 500 free throws in his HPU career. With 14 more, he will become the Big South’s all-time leader in that category, passing Radford’s Whit Holcomb-Faye (513, 2002-06).

• Senior Lorenzo Cugini is just nine 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.

• HPU’s senior quartet of Brown, Weary, Cugini and Haiishen McIntyre will graduate as the program’s all-time winningest Div. I class. The group has won 72 games over four years.

High Point is one game back of first place in the Big South standings with four games to go. HPU plays three of its final four games on the road. Here’s a look at the schedules of the five Big South teams in or within a game of first place and the combined conference winning percentage of their remaining opponents.

UNC Asheville (10-4): at Presbyterian, at Winthrop, vs. Liberty, vs. Coastal Carolina (.561)
Winthrop (10-4): vs. Coastal Carolina, vs. UNC Asheville, at High Point, at Campbell (.569)
Coastal Carolina (10-5): at Winthrop, vs. Charleston Southern, at UNC Asheville (.581)
Liberty (9-5): Radford, Presbyterian, at UNC Asheville, Gardner-Webb (.491)
High Point (9-5): at Longwood, at Radford, vs. Winthrop, at Presbyterian (.429)

Longwood was picked to finish sixth in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll but currently sit in 10th place with a 4-10 league mark. The Lancers have lost six of their past eight Big South games, including setbacks at Winthrop (88-80) and at home to Liberty (69-68) last week. Longwood is led by redshirt-senior Lotanna Nowgbo, who is averaging 14.9 points per game and is shooting 63.3 percent in conference play. Redshirt-senior guard Tra-vaughn White posts 13.5 ppg (16.0 in conference play) while sophomore guard Kanayo Obi-Rapu chips in 12.6 ppg and shoots 41 percent from 3-point territory. Senior Shaquille Johnson leads the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and assists (4.3 apg).

HPU and Longwood will meet for the 26th time on Thursday. HPU has won 19 of the 25 matchups, including nine of the last 10. The Panthers’ .760 winning percentage against the Lancers is its best vs. any of the current members of the Big South Conference. The teams first met on Dec. 1, 1984, with HPU picking up a 66-63 win in Farmville. In the most recent showdown, High Point defeated Longwood, 90-66, on Dec. 2 inside the Millis Center. Four HPU players scored in double figures in the win, including John Brown (18, 7 assists), Lorenzo Cugini (16, 4-5 3pt FG)), Anthony Lindauer (14) and Adam Weary (11).

High Point plays the second game of a Virginia two-step Saturday when the Panthers suit up against Radford inside the Dedmon Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.