Courtesy of Kevin McMahon:
Site: Davidson, N.C. (Belk Arena)
Score: Davidson 82, High Point 73
Records: High Point (0-1), 0-0 Big South), Davidson (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic-10)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, November 25th at Elon, 4:00PM
DAVIDSON, N.C. — The High Point University men’s basketball team dropped a road contest to Davidson on Wednesday (Nov. 25) night 82-73. Sophomore John-Michael Wright led High Point in scoring with 29 points on the night. Wright’s 29-point performance was powered by a strong second half where he scored 22 points. Freshman Ahmil Flowers(Grimsley High School) made a strong first impression with 14 points and a very efficient 60% shooting percentage on the night.
“I thought we gave a gallant effort tonight,” head coach Tubby Smith said. “We had a great effort by John-Michael, Ahmil, and Alex Holt. Those are two freshmen who stepped up and played solid basketball. Denny gave us a great spark and kept us in the ball game with some outside shots. We got beat on the boards and that was huge for us but, we turned them over and we took care of the ball. There are things we need to correct but it’s not anything that we can’t fix. They are certainly one of the top teams in the Atlantic-10 and we represented ourselves as well as we could tonight. You are never happy when you lose but I thought our guys did some good things, we shot 52% from three and held them to 39%. We did some good things we just need to build off of those.”
HPU was able to show their resilience early storming back from a 12-5 deficit five minutes in. Flowers stepped up in a big way for High Point and kept the Panthers in the first half. Flowers scored a quick five points to make it a 12-10 game with 12:42 in the first half. Holt subbed in with 13 minutes to go in the first and made an immediate impact. The leading rebounder in N.C. in high school a year ago rebounded a shot on and went back up to record the three-point play and tie the game. Both Davidson and High Point would exchange runs for the rest of the game in what was a highly entertaining contest.
Free throws from Caden Sanchez, Holt, and a pair of jumpers from Slay and Wright powered an 8-2 run in the last three minutes of the half to tie the game at 29-29 50 seconds before halftime. Davidson led by two at the break, 31-29.
The Panthers had a strong start to the second half as Wright exploded offensively for 22 points after scoring seven in the first half. When Davidson would score and threaten to go on a run Wright and the Panthers would answer. The sophomore was a prefect 5-5 from three-point range and shot 7-10 from the field. With 13:08 left to play the panthers were within three as Davidson led 50-47. Flowers laid one in to bring the lead down to one but Davidson went on a run and extended the lead to 56-50. With 10:16 left to play Senior Denny Slay II, the Panthers went on a 12-4 run, and Slay scored 10 of the Panther’s 12 points in the run. Slay’s final three of the night gave HPU a 62-60 lead with 6:07 left to play.
Davidson got out to a 68-64 lead with 4:19 left and Wright delivered an answer again scoring his fifth three of the night to bring the Davidson to lead down to one again with four to play. The Wildcats would make some stops and hit a few big shots down the stretch to win 82-73.
The game was conducted in front of no fans in John M. Belk Arena, Coach Smith had this to say about the spectator less environment. “It’s eerie because you hear the howling like it’s a full gym, I thought our guys competed, it doesn’t matter you have to compete no matter what. It’s just like when you are on the playground and there is nobody there but you and the other five guys you’re playing against. It was interesting. I thought we had a good crew tonight it was the first game of everybody’s season in division 1. I thought Davidson did a good job with the atmosphere all things considered.”