HPU MBB Panthers’ Press Fuels 79-74 Victory over UNC Asheville

• The Panthers won their regular season finale, 79-74, over UNC Asheville
• Senior Ricky Madison recorded his seventh double-double of the season
• HPU will play Gardner-Webb in the Big South quarterfinals on Thursday

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team used the press to perfection in the second half on the way to a 79-74 victory at UNC Asheville in the regular season finale Saturday (March 2) at Kimmel Arena.

With the win, the Panthers (16-14, 9-7 Big South) finished in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Big South standings and by way of tiebreakers earned the No. 5 seed for the tourney. HPU will play No. 4 Gardner-Webb on Thursday night (March 7) at 8 p.m. in Buies Creek, N.C.

Down 61-55 with 5:38 remaining, the Panthers went on an 8-0 run in 37 seconds to take a 63-61 lead. HPU turned on the press and forced four turnovers by the Bulldogs (4-26, 2-14) during the extended 18-4 run, which gave the Purple & White a 75-68 lead.

“We showed a lot of courage tonight,” HPU head coach Tubby Smith said. “We could very easily have folded, but our guys showed a lot of heart and toughness, especially Ricky Madison. I thought he set the tone with his double-double. He was relentless and that was what we have to have. I’m encouraged and excited about the postseason ahead.”

Senior Ricky Madison led HPU with 18 points and 14 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season. He had 14 of his 18 points in the second half.

Junior Jahaad Proctor had a team-high 20 points, including five 3-pointers, and five assists. 17 of Proctor’s 20 points came after the break. He is now 11 points shy of 1,000 career points at High Point.

Freshman Curtis Holland III added 13 points, while sophomore Denny Slay made big free throws down the stretch to ensure the victory for the Panthers.

HPU shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-55), while UNC Asheville was 25-of-54 (46.3 percent). The Bulldogs hit 15 3-point field goals, while the Panthers made 10. HPU held a 37-29 advantage on the boards.

Tajion Jones led the Bulldogs with 20 points.

HPU plays Gardner-Webb in the Big South Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at 8 p.m. in Buies Creek, N.C.