HPU men’s basketball drops 78-72 decision to Drexel

• High Point fell to Drexel, 78-72, in a game that featured seven ties and six lead changes in the second half.
• The Panther defense forced a season-high 21 turnovers and came away with 11 steals.
• Redshirt-senior Miles Bowman Jr., had his fifth double-double in eight games with a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a career-best three steals.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball came up just short in a back-and-forth battle with Drexel on Saturday night as the Panthers fell by a score of 78-72 at the Millis Center.

High Point trailed by just three, 69-66, with 1:19 left to play after a 3-pointer by redshirt-senior Miles Bowman Jr., but Drexel answered with a three of its own on the next trip down the court and went 6-6 from the free throw line in the final minute.

“I thought our guys fought real hard tonight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “The guys that came off the bench for us did a really good job, especially late in the first half and continuing into the second half. It really came down to just a free throw or two and three-or-four possessions offensively that we didn’t convert and they did. We fought for 40 minutes, gave ourselves a chance and came back at the end. We needed a missed free throw or something to happen for us but it just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Bowman Jr. finished with a team-high 18 points and grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds to record his fifth double-double in eight games this season. The forward had HPU’s final nine points, including two clutch 3-pointers down the stretch, and went 8-9 at the charity stripe. He also finished with a career-high three steals.

Freshman Jamal Wright joined Bowman in double figures with 12 points along with three assists and a career-best four steals for the Panthers.

High Point pressured the ball throughout the game to great effect, forcing a season-high 21 turnover and matching the team’s season high with 11 steals.

HPU got a season-best 23 points off the bench in the contest, led by junior Austin White who had a season-high nine points and tied both Wright and sophomore Andre Fox for the team lead in assists with three helpers. Senior Tarique Thompson and junior Jalen Williams both chipped in with seven points for the Panthers, a new HPU career high for Williams.

A pair of freshman guards led the way for Drexel as Karl Jonsson and Kurk Lee combined for 41 points. Jonsson went 8-14 overall and 7-12 from behind the arc for a game-high 25 points while Lee finished with 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

High Point fell behind early as Drexel hit six of its first eight shots to take a 16-6 lead at the first media timeout. The Panthers battled back throughout the rest of the first half and eventually tied the game at 35-35 with just over a minute left before halftime on a 3-pointer from Wright.

The Purple & White carried its strong close to the first half through the start of the second, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the period to jump ahead by six, 43-37. White, Wright and Williams all got to the hoop for layups and Bowman Jr. chipped in with two free throws to give HPU its biggest lead of the night.

Drexel came back with seven-straight points to retake the lead, setting up a back-and-forth final 15 minutes that featured five lead changes and five ties.

High Point is next in action on Tuesday, Dec. 6, as the team returns to the road for a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores out of the SEC in Nashville, Tenn. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. local time/8 p.m. Eastern.