High Point MBB aims for Big South crown Saturday at PC

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (19-9, 12-5) wraps up the regular season with hopes of a fourth-straight Big South title Saturday when the Panthers play at Presbyterian.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Blue Hose is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s game will be streamed live on the Big South Network. In additon, Kevin Burke and Stafford Stephenson will call the game on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m.

• The Panthers are tied for first in the Big South with UNC Asheville and Winthrop. HPU would claim the No. 1 Big South Tournament seed and at least a share of the league regular season title with a win on Saturday.

• With a win, HPU would become just the second program to win the Big South regular season title in four consecutive seasons (Coastal Carolina, 1987-88 to 1990-91).

• A win at PC also would give the Purple & White seven Big South road wins for the first time in program history.

• With a victory Saturday, HPU would post back-to-back 20 win seasons for the first time in DI history and first time overall since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

• Last time out, the Panthers won their fifth-straight game with a thrilling 87-85 victory over Winthrop Thursday night on ESPNU.

• Redshirt-senior John Brown posted 19 points (9-11 FG) in just 12 first-half minutes, but left the first half with a right foot injury. His status for HPU’s upcoming slate of games is unclear.

• In his absence, senior Adam Weary stepped up, with 14 of his team-high 24 points coming in the second half. The Memphis product also chipped in a career-best eight assists in 32 minutes.

• Redshirt-junior Miles Bowman Jr. continued his torrid pace with 15 points (13 in the second half) and 11 rebounds to post his first career-double double. He is averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds over the past two games.

• Weary is averaging 20.0 points and 4.0 assists over the last three games. He has scored 10+ points in eight-straight contests.

Saturday’s matchup will mark the 22nd all-time meeting between the Panthers and Blue Hose. HPU holds a 13-8 edge (.619) in the all-time series and has won 10 of the past 11 meetings, although seven of those wins have been by single digits. High Point is 7-4 at home against PC and 5-4 in road tilts. The teams first met on Feb. 11, 1943, with PC earning a 53-41 win in High Point. Last season, HPU won the first matchup this season, 82-66, on Jan. 9 in the Millis Center. Brown (19), Lindauer (13), Cugini (12) and Weary (11) all scored in double figures in the victory.

With a victory at Presbyterian, High Point would earn at least a share of the Big South regular season title for the fourth-straight campaign. HPU also would claim the No. 1 overall seed in the Big South Championship and earn an automatic bid to the NIT in the event the team does not win the Big South Tournament. With a loss, HPU would claim either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the tournament.

High Point (12-5): at Presbyterian (.294)
Winthrop (12-5): at Campbell (.294)
UNC Asheville (12-5): vs. Coastal Carolina (.647)
Coastal Carolina (11-6): at UNC Asheville (.706)

High Point has clinched a first-round bye in the 2016 Big South Championship. The Panthers will open the tournament Friday in quarterfinal action. Game times and seeding will be announced Saturday night.