HPU mens basketball falls to Liberty in defensive battle, 62-58

• High Point dropped a close one at home to Liberty, 62-58, on Wednesday night.
• The HPU defense held Liberty to just 62 points and limited the Flames to just six 3-pointers on 6-21 shooting from behind the arc.
• The Panthers outrebounded Liberty by 15, 37-22, and scored 28 points in the paint, led by sophomores Ricky Madison and Andre Fox who both finished with 12 to lead HPU.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team fell to the Liberty Flames by a score of 62-59 on Wednesday night in the Millis Center. The sophomore duo, Ricky Madison and Andre Fox both scored 12 points to pace the Panthers in the contest.

Madison shot 5-9 from the floor and 4-4 from the line while also leading the team with nine rebounds on the night. In addition to his 12 points, Fox grabbed seven rebounds, one shy of his career high. Freshman Jamal Wright led the Purple & White with five assists in the game and tied with junior Austin White for the team lead with two steals.

HPU remained active on the boards against Liberty, outrebounding the Flames, 37-22. The Plus-15 rebound margin was High Point’s highest margin over a Div. I opponent this season. The Panthers also outscored Liberty, 28-22, in the paint.

High Point’s defense harassed Liberty throughout the night, limiting the Flames, who came into the game averaging almost 10 3-pointers per game, to just 6-21 shooting from behind the arc. Brock Gardner and Myo Baxter-Bell led LU with 11 points apiece while Ryan Kemrite finished with 10 points after hitting a couple threes late in the contest.

“We played really well and this is the kind of effort that we need to play with every game,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “It came down to execution late in the game. We weren’t able to score late and we couldn’t get stops when we needed to. We played our hearts out and gave ourselves a chance. The guys played with the intensity that we have been looking for. This was a tough game to play in the second half; it was more of a free throw contest than a basketball game and that made it tough to get into a flow. Now we need to regroup and get back to practice to work on the things that will allow us to execute better late in games.”

The Purple & White drop to 7-10 overall and 1-4 in Big South Conference play while Liberty improves to 9-9 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

High Point came out strong on the defensive side of the floor, limiting Liberty to just eight points in the first 13 minutes of action, which allowed the Panthers to build an early 17-8 lead. Senior Tarique Thompson (5 points) combined with Madison (4) and Fox (4) to score 13 of HPU’s first 17 points as the Purple & White went ahead by nine

A jumper from Liberty’s Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz with just over six minutes left in the first half started a 12-6 run by the Flames that allowed the visitors to close to within one point heading into halftime.

High Point trailed by two midway through the first half when senior Anthony Lindauer ran off nine-straight points for the Panthers to turn a 34-32 deficit into a 41-38 lead for Purple & White. The senior got started with two free throws before hitting back-to-back jumpers and a 3-pointer. The Panthers built the lead up to as high as six, 49-43, with 7:03 to play and still led by three with three minutes to go when Kemrite hit back-to-back threes to propel Liberty in front. The Flames then went 6-6 from the line down the stretch to hold onto the lead, winning by four.

The Panthers remain at home this weekend and will play host to Presbyterian College on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Millis Center. High Point went 2-0 against the Blus Hose last season and have won six-straight matchups between the two teams dating back to 2013. Tip is set for 7 p.m.