HPU men’s basketball comeback falls short at Western Carolina

• High Point had a late comeback effort come up just short as the Panthers fell at Western Carolina, 70-65.
• HPU trailed by 15 with four to play and 10 with 30 seconds to go before pulling to within three with five seconds left.
• Senior Tarique Thompson recorded his first collegiate double-double with 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Purple & White.

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – A late comeback bid by the High Point University men’s basketball team came up just short as the Panthers fell to Western Carolina, 70-65, on Monday night in Cullowhee, N.C.

High Point trailed by 15, 59-44, with four minutes to go when senior Anthony Lindauer hit a jumper followed by a 3-pointer from freshman Jamal Wright to trim the deficit to 10 with 3:34 to play.

The Panthers continued to trail by 10, 68-58, with 30 seconds remaining before a layup from Lindauer, a 3-pointer by sophomore Andre Fox and a putback by senior Tarique Thompson made it a one-possession game with five seconds to play. The Purple & White just missed a steal on the WCU inbounds pass and two free throws by the Catamounts ended the comeback attempt for HPU.

Lindauer and Wright combined for 16 of HPU’s 21 points down the stretch and both finished in double figures on the night with Lindauer scoring 13 and Wright overcoming foul trouble to end the contest with 12.

Thompson led High Point with 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double while sophomore Ricky Madison finished with 13 points, including 12 in the first half.

“It is hard to play without one of you best players and while it is unfortunate that Miles (Bowman Jr.) wasn’t here, the guys that were need to learn to get better,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “Even late in the game when we were making a run, we had three or four possessions where we didn’t block out and get a rebound. Those are the things this team needs to understand. We had 17 turnovers tonight and are just turning the ball over way too much. This will be a good break for us where we can regroup and get ready for league play.”

Devin Peterson led Western with 18 points and Haboubacar Mutombo finished with 13 for the Catamounts.

With the loss, the Panthers finish non-conference play at .500 with a 6-6 record.

High Point jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on layups by Madison and Thompson and two free throws from Madison. Western Carolina then answered the early HPU effort with a 13-2 run of its own to go ahead by five with a little under 10 minutes remaining in the half.

The Panthers struggled from the field in the opening half, going 5-19 from the floor, but offset that by getting to the line 22 times and connecting on 18 to remain within striking distance of the Catamounts. Madison went 6-6 from the line in the first 20 minutes, including two with 14 seconds left in the half to pull HPU within one before a layup at the buzzer sent the Panthers into the break down 31-28.

HPU quickly tied the game coming out of halftime on a jumper by Wright and a free throw by Madison to knot the game at 31-31. Western Carolina came back with a quick six points to spark a 21-6 run by the Catamounts that pushed the hosts in front by 15 with eight to play.

High Point is off for 10 days over the holiday before opening Big South play at Gardner-Webb on Dec. 29. Tip in the game is set for 7 p.m.