HPU Men’s Basketball Falls to Longhorns to Conclude Non-Conference Play

Site: Austin, Texas (Erwin Center)
Score: Texas X, High Point X
Records: UT (10-2, XII), HPU (3-10. 0-0 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Jan. 4 — at Radford (Radford, Va.), 4:30 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas – The High Point University men’s basketball team concluded its non-conference schedule with an 89-58 loss at the hands of Big XII foe Texas on Monday night (Dec. 30). Freshman John-Michael Wright and redshirt junior Cliff Thomas Jr. both led the Panthers with 15 points and six rebounds each in the losing effort.

“I thought we had a good game plan and to start the game we were playing pretty tough and competitive,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “Those last few minutes of the first half set the tone and the momentum that Texas was able to get. I thought we competed for the most part, especially with our leading scorer (Curtis Holland III) unavailable to us tonight.”

The Longhorns got off to an early 6-0 run and held HPU scoreless the first three minutes until John-Michael Wright got a steal at the top of the key and went down for an easy fast break layup.

High Point kept it close through the first half, making it a one score game (26-23) at 5:43 with a layup by freshman Bryant Randleman. After falling behind early in the opening stanza by double digits, HPU would go on an 11-2 run that included a three-pointer by freshman Eric Coleman Jr. at 8:51.

Texas ended the first half with an 8-0 run and held the Panthers scoreless over the remaining three minutes to take a 41-29 lead into the locker room.

The Longhorns continued their stride to start the second and hit a three-pointer to begin the period and went on another 8-0 to make it 16 consecutive points, taking their largest lead of the night (20). High Point swung momentum back in its favor going on am 8-0 run of its own over a 1:24 span to bring the game back within distance.

The hosts pulled the game out of reach after a 12-0 run where they held HPU scoreless over a four-minute span midway through the closing half, while shooting 57.6 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (6-13) from beyond the arc in the period.

John-Michael Wright’s team-leading 15 points extends his double-digit scoring streak to 10 out of his first 13 career games. Thomas Jr.’s 15 points was a season-high and the most he has scored since his career-high of 16 his sophomore season against Taccoa Falls (Dec. 10, 2017).

The Panthers will begin Big South Conference play on Saturday (Jan. 4) when it travels to Radford. Tipoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m.