High Point Men’s Basketball opens HPU Classic Friday vs. UNCG

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team hosts intra-Triad rival UNCG to open the HPU Classic Friday evening in the Millis Center.

Tip-off between the Panthers and Spartans is set for 7 p.m. Friday’s game will be broadcast live on the Big South Network, featuring commentary from Sean Hamilton and David Wintrode. In addition, “Voice of the Panthers” Kevin Burke and Stafford Stephenson will call the game on the High Point Panthers Radio Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

• High Point will host a non-conference tournament for the first time in program history when the Purple & White take part in the HPU Classic. High Point will welcome UNCG, Navy and North Dakota State to the Millis Center for the round-robin tournament Nov. 18-20.
• High Point will play four of its first five games of the 2016-17 inside the Millis Center. It’s the first time the Panthers have hosted at least four of their first five games at home since the 2001-02 campaign. HPU is 32-5 in its last 37 home games.
• The Panthers are coming off a 99-73 setback at Virginia Tech Tuesday. VT made 16 of its first 17 shots (8 of first 9 3pt FG) to build a sizable lead. HPU then outscored the Hokies 48-41 over the game’s final 24 minutes.
• Sophomore Andre Fox recorded career highs in points (23), field goals made (9) and 3-point FGM (4), while redshirt-senior Miles Bowman Jr. recorded his second-straight double-double (17 pts, 10 reb).
• Bowman Jr. leads the Big South in rebounds/game (10.0). He is one of only 11 players nationally to have recorded a double-double in each of his team’s first two games.
• Fox is second in the Big South in scoring (18.5 ppg), sixth in field goal percentage (.520) and t-6th in offensive rebounds/game (2.5). He also is t-2nd in 3-point field goal percentage (.667) and 3-point field goals made (3.0).
• The Purple & White lead the Big South in rebounding margin through two games this season (+9.0).

The Panthers are receiving contributions from the entire roster so far this season in a collaborative team effort. Six players are averaging at least 20 minutes/game while 10 are playing at least 12 minutes. In addition, HPU has four players averaging 10+ points and five with at least one assist/game.

Intra-Triad rivals HPU and UNCG will meet for the 12th time Friday. High Point holds a 9-2 advantage (.818) in the all-time series, including a 5-1 mark (.833) in the Div. I era. HPU has won six of the last seven meetings between the teams. The Spartans have never won at the Millis Center. HPU and UNCG first matched up during the 1974-75 season with the Purple & White earning an 82-68 win in High Point. In the most recent contest, HPU won last year’s meeting, 90-72, on Dec. 9, 2015, with John Brown (24 pts, 11 reb), Adam Weary (14 pts, 5 ast) and Lorenzo Cugini (15 pts, 3-3 3pt FG) leading the way.

High Point has complied a 327-270 (.548) record all-time against Div. I programs hailing from the Tar Heel State. HPU’s most common opponents are Elon (86-76, .531), Appalachian State (60-36, .625) and Western Carolina (40-22, .645). The majority of those meetings came during the NAIA era. High Point is 78-71 (.523) against Big South programs from North Carolina and 249-199 (.556) against the rest of the state’s Div. I teams. HPU was 5-2 against in-state foes in 2015-16.

The Panthers are 73-50 (.593) all-time against current members of the Southern Conference. The Panthers most common opponents are Western Carolina (40-22), VMI (13-10) and UNCG (9-2). In addition to the long-time series with WCU during the NAIA days, HPU and VMI clashed often over the past decade during VMI’s tenure in the Big South.

UNCG was picked to finish t-5th in the SOCON preseason poll. The Spartans play a deliberate style, ranking 312th out of 351 teams nationally in adjusted tempo (70 possessions/game). As a result, the Spartans lead the SoCon in scoring defense (59.0 ppg) but 10th in scoring offense (56.0). The Spartans opened with a 76-51 setback to No. 7 Virginia on Nov. 11 in the Greensboro Coliseum but rebounded nicely with a 61-42 win over Presbyterian College Monday. UNCG is led by junior forward Marvin Smith, who paces the Spartans with 12.0 points per game and is second on the team with 7.5 rebounds per contest.

HPU continues play in the High Point University Classic Saturday at 4 p.m. The Panthers will take on the Navy Midshipmen, before wrapping up the tournament Sunday vs. North Dakota State (12:30 p.m.).