HPU men’s basketball wins OT thriller over Charleston Southern, 72-69

• High Point extended its win streak to four in a row with a 72-69 overtime win over Charleston Southern on Thursday.
• Sophomore Andre Fox scored a game-high 22, including eight in overtime to lead the Panthers.
• HPU had two players record double-doubles for the first time since 2013 as redshirt-senior Miles Bowman Jr. had 15 points and 12 rebounds and seniuor Tarique Thompson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team pushed it win streak to four in a row with a 72-69 win in an overtime thriller against Charleston Southern on Thursday night at the Millis Center. Sophomore Andre Fox led all scorers with 22 points, including eight in the overtime period for the Panthers.

High Point trailed by two with 36 seconds left when Fox was fouled and drained both free throws to tie the contest at 61-61. The Buccaneers Cortez Mitchell took an off-balance three that was off the mark with just seconds left and the contest went into overtime.

Redshirt-senior Miles Bowman Jr., scored the first points in the overtime with a layup and Fox then hit four-straight free throws as the Panthers scored the first six points of overtime to go ahead 67-61. Charleston Southern pulled back within two thanks to four unanswered points but was unable to get even as HPU went 5-6 from the free throw in the final minute with Fox going 4-4 in the time.

“The guys did a great job of fighting through adversity tonight,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We weren’t at our best tonight, we missed some assignments on the defensive end, but we figured out a way to win and that is a sign of a stride in the right direction. Three of our losses early in conference season we didn’t pull out this type of game. These guys did a good job making stops to force the game to overtime where they made the plays they needed to make. I think we can still be a lot better but in conference play this time of the season you just need to figure out ways to win games.”

The Panthers finished the game shooting 23-27 from the free throw line (85.2 percent). It is the seventh-straight game that HPU has shot 70 percent or better from the charity stripe. The Purple & White also won the rebounding battle for the seventh-straight game, outrebounding CSU by seven, 46-39.

Four players finished in double figures for High Point led by Fox who shot just 5-13 from the floor but went 11-11 from the free throw line. He also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds, all on the defensive end.

Bowman Jr. (15), freshman Jamal Wright (14) and senior Tarique Thompson (10) joined Fox in double figures. Both Bowman Jr (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Thompson (10 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles in the game, making them the first pair of High Point players to record a double-double in the same game since Allen Chaney and John Brown did it against Liberty on January 16, 2013.

Cortez Mitchell led Charleston Southern with 21 points off the bench. The guard shot 7-15 from the floor and 7-11 from the free throw line. Armel Potter had 13 points and Raemond Robinson chipped in with 10. CSU leading scorer Christian Keeling was limited to just six points on 2-10 shooting in the contest.

High Point improves to 11-10 overall and 5-4 in the Big South with its fourth consecutive win. Charleston Southern drops to 7-13 overall and 3-6 in conference play.

It was a game of runs in the first half as both teams had two runs of at least six-straight points. With the Panthers down 11-5 early, Wright sparked a 7-0 run with a three his first of three in the half. The run ended with two free throws by Bowman Jr., that gave HPU its first lead of the game, 12-11.

After CSU went back up by five with a 6-0 run of its own, High Point ran off 11-straight points for its biggest lead of the first half, 23-17. It was Wright once again that got the run started with back-to-back 3-pointers followed by layups from Thompson and Fox.

The Buccaneers once again battled back with a 12-2 run to go up by four with less then a minute remaining in the half High Point scored four of the final five points in the period to go into the locker room down just one, 30-29, at the half.

The lead swung back and forth in the opening minutes of the second half until a 10-2 run by the Buccaneers gave Charleston Southern its biggest lead of the game at 42-35 with 11:49 left to play. High Point continued to trail by seven with a little more than nine minutes to play before a 3-pointer by Bowman Jr. sparked a 10-0 run by the Panthers that gave the home side a 51-48 lead with 5:27 to play.

A final 6-0 burst by Charleston Southern put the Buccaneers up by two, 57-55 with two minutes left. That was as big a lead as CSU could build though in the closing minutes as HPU tied the game three times.

With the first half of conference play completed, High Point will next travel to Rock Hill, S.C., on Saturday, Jan. 28, to take on the Winthrop Eagles. The game will tip at 2 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Winthrop won the first meeting between the two sides, 80-74, in the Millis Center on Jan. 4.