Site: Spartanburg, S.C. (Hodge Center)
Score: #7 USC Upstate 69, #10 High Point 59
Records: USCU (13-19), HPU (9-23)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – High Point University men’s basketball team saw its 2019-20 season come to a close in a 69-59 loss at USC Upstate in the first round of the Hercules Tires Big South Men’s Basketball Championship (Tuesday, March 3).
Senior Jamal Wright led the Panthers with 19 points, all coming within the second half, while shooting 7-18 from the floor and 5-8 from the perimeter. Redshirt junior Cliff Thomas Jr. chipped in with 12 points (nine in the second half) and a career-high 17 rebounds for his first career double-double.
The Spartans jumped out to an early ten-point lead (12-2) and led by as many as 17 on two occasion in the opening half. HPU cut the deficit to single digits after a Rob Peterson III dunk at 5:53 in part of an 11-1 run which saw scoring margin come to as close as seven (25-18) after an offensive rebound and layup by John-Michael Wright.
However, USC Upstate took the momentum back with a 10-0 run to regain a 17-point advantage, 35-18, and took that into halftime.
Senior Jamal Wright came out with vengeance in the second half and scored a quick eight points after a pair of three pointers and a fast break layup, cutting the deficit to 12.
A 6-0 High Point run at the midway mark of the second brought the game within single digits (53-44) for the first time since the early minutes of the first half.
High Point continued to hit shots down the stretch, cutting the Upstate lead to eight after another Jamal Wright three-pointer with 23 seconds on the clock, but the Spartans would match them and held on to advance to the Hercules Tires Big South Men’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals.
This marks the end of Jamal Wright’s HPU career, as the senior will graduate from the University this spring with a degree in sport communication. The Upper Marlboro, Md. native appeared in 114 games with 43 starts, amassing 702 points.
High Point looks ahead to the 2020-21 season as it moves into the Nido and Mariana Qubien Arena, Conference Center and Jana and Ken Kahn Hotel. The $130 million facility will seat 4,500 spectators and include luxury suites, locker rooms, staff offices, concession stands, a merchandising area, media suite, film room, press conference room, weight room, athletic training room, hospitality area, high tech audio and video equipment, ticket office and practice gym. Limited amount of season tickets for the upcoming season are on sale at qubeinarena.com.