High Point Men’s Basketball Unable to Contain CSU in Big South Setback

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: Charleston Southern 79, High Point 60
Records: CSU (9-9, 3-3 Big South), HPU (4-14. 1-4 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Monday, Jan. 20 — at USC Upstate (Spartanburg, S.C.) 6 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (4-14) fell to Charleston Southern (9-9), 79-60 on Saturday (Jan 18) afternoon. Freshmen performed well for the Panthers, as Emmanuel Izunabor scored a career-high 12 points in the contest while classmates John-Michael Wright and Eric Coleman Jr. also added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Charleston Southern came out firing, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to jump out to a 9-4 lead over High Point. Another shot from deep would extend the Buccaneers’ lead to 14-6 at the first media timeout. CSU extended its lead to double digits out of the break, going up 16-6 early on. Drawing consecutive offensive fouls and a lay in from Izunabor started to swing the momentum in the Panthers’ direction. Senior Jamal Wright started where he left off against UNC Asheville, hitting his first shot of the game, but more three-point shooting extended the Buccaneers’ lead to 11 at the under-12 timeout.

“Have to give them (Charleston Southern credit), that was an outstanding display of shooting,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “The combination of them making all their shots and us not making shots. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a game where the other team shot 76% from the field and 71% from three.”

Charleston Southern stayed hot, extending its lead to 36-21 at the under-eight timeout. The Buccaneers started off shooting 9-11 from behind the arc. High Point shot well too, starting the game off shooting 56.3% in the first 15 minutes. Freshman John-Michael Wright led the Panthers in scoring in the first half, scoring seven points while shooting 3-6 from the field. High Point was sharing the offensive load well, with seven Panthers scoring in the first half, but it Charleston Southern could not miss. They finished the first half shooting 76% (19-25) from the field and 71.4% (10-14) from behind the arc, taking a 49-25 lead into the break. A bright spot for High Point came on the offensive glass, as six different Panthers grabbed a total of seven offensive rebounds in the first half. Izunabor finished the game with a game-high four offensive rebounds, while Rob Peterson III also grabbed seven boards, three of which came offensively.

Coleman Jr. got the scoring started for the Panthers in the second half, scoring four of the first seven points for High Point in the second half. John-Michael Wright also kept up his scoring effort, adding five more points to his total heading into the under-12 media timeout in the second half. The Panthers outscored the Buccaneers 13-11 in the first eight minutes of the second half and High Point continued to work the offensive glass, grabbing three more offensive boards in the first eight minutes of play in the second half. Caden Sanchez got involved in the offense, scoring four of his eight points in the second half.

High Point freshmen continued to produce, with Coleman Jr. converting on an and-one layup to cut the Charleston Southern lead to 19 at the under-eight media timeout. An emphatic block from Coleman Jr. also got the home crowd on their feet.

The Panthers continued to score, but could never cut much into the Charleston Southern lead, the Buccaneers’ maintaining a 72-52 lead at the under-four break. Junior Brendan Quinlan-Huertas scored his first career points late in the game, making the final score of the game 79-60 in favor of Charleston Southern.

High Point heads back on the road Monday (Jan. 20) when it travels to USC Upstate. Tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m. from Spartanburg, S.C.