• The Panthers become just the second Big South program in 27 years to win four-straight league titles
• HPU set a new program record with its seventh Big South road win of the year
• High Point claims the No. 1 seed in the Big South Championship and will play the winner of No. 8 Longwood/No. 9 Charleston Southern Friday at noon
CLINTON, S.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (20-9) clinched its fourth-consecutive Big South regular season title with an 80-60 victory at Presbyterian on Saturday afternoon inside the Millis Center.
HPU led by three at the half (32-29), but shot 60.9 percent in the second half and held a +16 (40-24) edge in the stanza.
With the victory, High Point becomes just the second Big South program in 27 years to win four-straight league titles (Coastal Carolina, 1988-91). The Panthers also set a new school record with their seventh Big South road victory of the year (7-2 on the road).
HPU will enter the 2016 Big South Championship as the No. 1 seed and play the winner of No. 8 Longwood/No. 9 Charleston Southern on Friday at noon in Buies Creek, N.C.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “They stepped up and contributed in John’s absence and really helped us win. I give so much credit to our kids. These four seniors graduate with four championships but there’s one left that they want more anything. We’re ready to fight like crazy to win in Buies Creek next week.”
HPU shot 51.9 percent (28-56) for the game and distributed 17 assists while committing just six turnovers. The Panthers tied a season high with 11 3-pointers made and shot 45.8 percent from beyond the arc.
HPU was +3 (30-27) on the glass and forced 13 PC turnovers, leading to a 15-2 edge in points off turnovers for the game.
Senior Adam Weary posted 20+ points for the third time in the last four games, notching a game-high 23 (7-12 FG) to go along with four assists in 31 minutes. Weary connected on a career-best four 3-pointers (4-7 3pt FG) and made 5-of-6 free throw attempts.
Senior Lorenzo Cugini broke out of a shooting slump in a big way Saturday, making 4-of-6 3-point attempts to finish with 14 points. He also tallied three assists in 28 minutes. Redshirt-junior Miles Bowman Jr. put together another excellent game inside, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds while making all six of his free throw attempts.
The Panthers scored six of the first eight points of the game, but Presbyterian used an 8-2 run to build a 17-11 edge at the 10:13 mark of the first half. Triples from Lindauer and Cugini fueled an 8-2 HPU spurt that tied the game at 19-19, and HPU used a 5-0 surge to build the lead back to six (29-23) with 3:08 to play in the half.
PC used a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 29-29 with 1:09 to play in the stanza, but Weary nailed his third triple of the half to give the Panthers a 3-point edge (32-29) heading into the break.
Highlighted by back-to-back treys from White and Cugini, HPU opened the second half on an 8-0 run to build a 40-29 edge at the 19:35 mark of the stanza. The Panthers extended the edge to 14 at 47-33 and back-to-back treys from Cugini and Lindauer ballooned the lead out to 21 (66-45) with 5:55 to play.
With the victory, HPU improves to 11-1 in its last 12 games vs. Presbyterian.
The Panthers open the Big South Championship Friday at noon and will play the winner of No. 8 Longwood/No. 9 Charleston Southern.