Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: Winthrop 79, High Point 57
Records: WU (9-7, 3-0 Big South), HPU (3-12. 0-2 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Jan. 11 — at Presbyterian (Templeton Center) 4 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C – The High Point University men’s basketball team found themselves on the wrong end of a second half surge, falling to Winthrop 79-57 on Wednesday (Jan. 8) evening at Millis Center in Big South Conference play.
“It was same M.O. and we have seen it quite frequently,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “We saw it at Radford too, where we battle and then they make a run going into half time. We could’ve gone in down by eight, but we gave up a three there to end the half. We came out and attacked them I thought in the second half, but we just didn’t stick to the game plan.”
High Point jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after a Caden Sanchez layup and a three-pointer by Eric Coleman Jr. HPU led by as many as eight points at 16:04 before Winthrop went on a 13-0 run midway through the opening stanza and took the lead at 13:47 and never relinquished it.
The Panthers kept it within distance until the Eagles went on a 9-1 run in the final minutes to pull their lead to double digits. The visitors would take a 39-28 lead at halftime, which included a buzzer-beating three pointer by Winthrop’s Hunter Hale.
Cliff Thomas Jr. had a team-leading 14 points, which tied for a game high. The redshirt junior has now scored in double digits in three out of his last four games and is averaging 12 points in that span.
“I thought our post guys did a good, Caden (Sanchez) and Cliff (Thomas),” added Smith. “They were our best field goal shooters and played strong tonight.”
Senior Jamal Wright finished the contest with 12 points, being especially productive at Millis Center of late. He is averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game over his past two games at home, doubling his season average.
Sophomore Curtis Holland III got into early foul trouble and therefore saw limited minutes throughout the contest. His nine-game double digit scoring streak came to an end and was held scoreless for the first time in this season and in his last 20 contests.
HPU will head back on the road this Saturday (Jan. 11) when it travels to Presbyterian. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.