High Point Men’s Basketball Falls to William & Mary in Season Opener:From the Floor with TJ Garske

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: William & Mary 70, High Point 56
Records: W&M (1-0), HPU (0-1)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Nov. 9 — at Wofford (Spartanburg, S.C.), 7 p.m.
Courtesy of TJ Garske:Assistant Athletic Director for Communications High Point University

HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team behind early and were unable to mount a comeback in a 70-56 loss to William & Mary Tuesday (Nov. 5) evening. The contest was the season opener for the Panthers and the final at Millis Center.

Caden Sanchez got the scoring started for the Panthers, hitting a layup a minute and sixteen seconds in the first game of the regular season. The teams would trade buckets early in the game before William & Mary hopped out to a 10-5 lead. A pair of free throws from Curtis Holland III cut the Tribe’s lead to three heading into the under-16 media timeout.

Out of the first media timeout of the game, William & Mary would go on a 12-4 to open up their lead to 22-11. High Point was able to settle in and an emphatic block from Emmanuel Izunabor that kept deficit at 10 heading into the under-eight media timeout, 25-15. Consecutive buckets from the Tribe put William & Mary on top 30-15 with just over five minutes to go in the first half. These would be the Tribe’s final points of the half, as High Point held William & Mary scoreless for the final five minutes of the first half.

A Holland III steal and breakaway dunk got the scoring run going for the Panthers, as they closed out the half on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 30-21 heading into the break. High Point continued to play stout defense during the scoring run, with John-Michael Wright picking up one of five blocks High Point had on the night. Wright also led the Panthers in scoring in the first half, scoring five points while Holland III added four. HPU had a balanced attack in the first half, with seven Panthers scoring.

The Tribe responded by opening up the second half on a 14-2 run to take a 44-23 lead. High Point tried to apply pressure, switching into a full court press, but were unable to get a run over their own and cut into the Tribe’s lead. While they could not cut too much into the lead, they did play better offensively in the final twenty minutes of the game, scoring thirty-five second half points as a team.

Several Panthers had scoring runs, with Denny Slay II scoring four straight in less than a minute heading into the under-twelve media timeout. JM Wright had another strong half, finishing the night with a team-high 17 points. The team closed the game on a 11-6 run to make the final score 70-56.

The Panthers freshmen were able to make an impact after settling into their first career collegiate games. Bryant Randleman finished the night with six points while classmate Eric Coleman Jr. added five points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Emmanuel Izunabor also made his presence felt on both ends of the court, scoring four points and having a team-high three blocks.

HPU will return to action this Saturday (Nov. 9) when it travels to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on Wofford. Tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.