Site: Buies Creek, N.C. (Gore Arena)
Score: High Point 62, Campbell 57
Records: HPU (6-16, 3-6 Big South), CU (11-10, 2-7 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, Feb. 6 — vs Hampton (Millis Center), 7 p.m.
BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team came back from a 15 point halftime deficit to defeat Campbell, 62-57 on Thursday (Jan. 30) evening in Big South Conference play. Freshman John-Michael Wright scored 23 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, including seven three-pointers.
“I am so proud of our players for hanging in there after a tough first half,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “We didn’t quit and I love the way our guys competed. John-Michael Wright had a spectacular game and second half, shooting the ball among other things. He played 38 minutes and it was just an overall great effort.”
John Michael-Wright continued his blazing scoring streak with a game-high 30 points while dropping a season-high eight three pointers. He has now scored in double digits 18 times and is averaging 25.7 ppg over his last four contests.
Fellow Fayetteville Academy product Emmanuel Izubanor recorded a season-high eight rebounds as he continues to see an increase in minutes down the stretch.
“Manny came in and did a great job on the boards and rebounded the ball – what he does best,” added Smith. “Bryant, who didn’t start the game (for the first time this season) kept his head up and made one of the biggest shots, the clutch jumper with the shot clock winding down, to put us up by three with 16 seconds left on the clock. That was huge.”
The Fighting Camels took a 9-0 to start the contest, holding HPU scoreless for the first 6:48 of the game. After going 0-8 from the field senior Jamal Wright hit a mid-range buzzer beater to get High Point on the board. His bucket would spur the Panthers to knock down six of their next nine shots, including a jumper from John Michael-Wright that cut the Campbell lead to just eleven midway through the first half. The hosts took a 38-23 lead into halftime, thanks in part to shooting 54.2% (13-24) from the field and causing eight Panther turnovers.
John-Michael Wright opened the second half with a three-pointer that started a 9-2 run to cut the Panthers deficit to single digits for the first time since the 7:54 mark of the opening stanza.
John-Michael Wright continued his hot hand and hit another shot from beyond the arc at 8:34 mark to make it a one score game (50-47), then cut it to two with yet another trey at 4:58 (54-52).
After going down by as many as 16 High Point clawed its way to its first lead of the game after yet another John-Michael Wright three at the 4:06 mark. This capped off a 19-8 Panther run, with the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year responsible for 11 of the points.
With High Point holding a one point lead late in the contest Campbell’s Jordan Whitfield knocked down a contested three that put the home side back on top 57-55. Not to be outdone, John Michael-Wright buried a long step back three of his own to regain the lead with 3:02 left.
In a chaotic final minute of play both teams squandered multiple opportunities to score, including a Campbell sequence that saw the Camels miss three shots. In the next possession, with the shot clock winding down, freshman Bryant Randleman gave the Panthers a three-point lead with a step back jumper as the shot clock wound down to close the book on the comeback.
Randleman finished the contest with eight points on 4-4 shooting. This was his highest scoring game since a late November matchup against Greensboro College where he poured in a career-high 11 points.
High Point takes a week-long break before returning to action next Thursday (Feb. 6) at Millis Center when it hosts Hampton at 7 p.m.