Wright and Randleman HPU MBB Power Panthers to Comeback Win

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 77, Charleston Southern 73
Records: High Point (8-10), 6-7 Big South, Charleston Southern (1-16), 0-13 Big South
Next HPU Event: Friday, Feb. 12th vs. Charleston Southern (Millis Center), 6:00 PM

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team (8-10) (6-7) overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to come back and win 77-73 over Charleston Southern. John-Michael Wright scored 24 points in the win, the sophomore exploded for a 20-point half which helped lift the Panthers to their comeback win. Bryant Randleman scored a career-high 16 points, the sophomore’s energy and clutch playmaking late helped High Point secure the win.

“I was very impressed, I told my players they were going to have to play hard to be able to compete against Charleston Southern,” Coach Tubby Smith said. “Radebaugh teams are always well-coached and they always compete up to the last second and certainly they did tonight. We were fortunate to get the win. Again, it was a tale of two halves, it was similar to what happened at Hampton where we played great in the first half, tonight we played great in the second half. That 17-4 run was huge, our press was very effective, certainly, it’s always tough to guard one of the players who is a candidate for player of the year in Phlandrous Fleming. You know you have to guard him, he certainly carried them tonight but then again, we have John-Michael. He struggled in the first half and then stepped up and played well. I can’t say enough about Bryant, he is certainly coming on as our point guard. He stepped and made those huge free throws for us.”

The Buccaneers used a hot start to get themselves going early in the first half. CSU jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first six minutes of the contest. Charleston Southern’s lead grew to as large as 15 in the first half. At the break CSU lead by 13, 35-23. The leading scorer for HPU at the half was freshman Alex Holt who had 8 points and five rebounds.

In the first ten minutes of the second half, The Panthers tried to claw their way back into the game. The Bucs continued to create space as the Panthers looked to get the lead down to single digits. With 7:49 remaining HPU was down by 16 points. Ahmil Flowers and Randleman got the momentum going for the Panthers late in the game as they completed back-to-back three-point plays creating a burst of six points for HPU. The two and-ones brought the lead down to 10 with 7:35 left to play as the Panthers continued to inch closer to the Bucs. Lydell Elmore hit a huge three-pointer with 5:25 remaining to bring the CSU lead down to single digits, 67-58. The three was the Branchville, S.C. native’s second of the night, Elmore shot 100% from the beyond the arc and played a big role in the comeback for the Purple and White.

With four minutes remaining Charleston Southern pushed the lead back out to 11 to go up 71-60 with 3:55 to play. Wright splashed a three to bring the lead down to eight, the sophomore was fouled as the shot went in and went to the line. Wright completed the four-point play to make the score, 71-64 with 3:44 left in the game. On the next play, Wright made a steal and laid it in to make it a five-point game, 71-66. On the next defensive possession, Wright brought down the rebound then scored on the other side to make it a three-point game. After two Bucs free throws, Elmore drove to the basket and made it a one-possession game again at the 2:15 mark (73-70). Randleman stole it away on the following inbound and laid it in to make it a one-point game, 73-72 with 1:52 to play. With 1:19 remaining in the game Wright made his fifth steal of the game and knocked the ball out of the hands of Flemming. Randleman picked up the loose ball and found Denny Slay II who laid it in to give HPU its first lead of the second half putting the Panthers up 74-73. Randleman hit three clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the win for High Point. 77-73.

Charleston Southern led the game for 35:59 minutes of the contest, a 55-point second-half for HPU allowed the Panthers to regain the lead late. In the second half, High Point shot 56% which was its second-best shooting half of the season behind their 61.5% half against Gardner-Webb on Jan. 30. HPU ended the game on a 17-4 run in the last 4:25 of the game. The Panthers have won five out of their last seven games.

UP NEXT: The Panthers look to close out the series against CSU tomorrow (Feb. 12) in the Millis Center at 6:00 PM. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.