HPU MBB Falls in Heartbreaker to CSU

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: Charleston Southern 69, High Point 68
Records: High Point (8-11), 6-8 Big South, Charleston Southern (2-16), 1-13 Big South
Next HPU Event: Thursday, Feb. 18th vs. Winthrop (Millis Center), 9:00 PM

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team fell in heartbreaking fashion on Friday evening to Charleston Southern, 69-68. The Purple and White were led by John-Michael Wright (18), Bryant Randleman (12), and Ahmil Flowers (11), who each scored in double-digits.

Head coach Tubby Smith said after the game, “We just got outplayed and outcoached tonight. We’ve had a tough time winning back-to-back games. We’ve only done it once this year at Gardner-Webb. It was a really disappointing loss.” He continued, “We didn’t make the plays down the stretch, made some mistakes. Phalandrous Fleming beat us again, he did it here last year and he’s quite a talented player.”

The Panthers started the game the way they finished last night, opening up on an 11-2 run to force an early Charleston Southern timeout. Every High Point starter recorded a point during the opening run, highlighted by a three-pointer from Flowers.

The Buccaneers responded with a 9-0 run of their own and made it a 17-13 game at the under-12 media timeout. A quick layup and three-pointer from Charleston Southern out of the break gave them an 18-17 lead. The five-minute scoring drought for HPU was broken on a Denny Slay II jump shot and an Alex Holt layup tied the game at the under-eight break.

Out of the timeout, the Purple and White forced three consecutive turnovers and took a six-point lead after an emphatic dunk from Flowers. Wright stayed active on the defensive end, picking up three steals in the half. High Point stretched its lead to eight after a Wright jumper and forced another Buccaneers timeout with just under five minutes to play in the first.

High Point continued its team effort, making the most of CSU misses and collecting ten fast break points in the first half. Some foul trouble allowed the Buccaneers to stay competitive and an and-one gave them a 37-36 lead over the Panthers at halftime.

Coming off a career night on Thursday, Randleman got the Panthers going in the second half with a quick bucket out of the break. Randleman finished with double-digits for the second time this season and second time in as many games, finishing the night with 12 points. Wright came out firing too, hitting back-to-back triples to give HPU a five-point lead. The sophomore scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half.

A 7-0 Charleston Southern run put the Buccaneers up 51-49 at the under-12 media timeout. After a few quick buckets, a highlight reel dunk from Lydell Elmore got the bench on its feet and gave High Point a two-point lead before a Wright and-one play put the Panthers up 60-55. CSU refused to go away, cutting the Panthers lead to two with just under two to play. The teams battled back-and-forth and a Charleston Southern three with just seconds left gave the Buccaneers the win.

UP NEXT: The Panthers will be back in action on Thursday as they host Winthrop. Thursday’s game has been selected as the Big South’s Wild Card matchup and will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. against the Eagles. It will be High Point’s hosting an ESPNU game since 2016 when they defeated the Eagles 87-85.