Site: High Point, N.C. (Qubein Center)
Score: High Point 95, Mount Olive 70 (Exhibition)
HIGH POINT, N.C. — After years of anticipation, The High Point University men’s basketball team opened the $170 million, state of the art, Qubein Center in front of a capacity crowd on Thursday, November 4th. HPU defeated Mount Olive 95-70 in an exhibition. Zack Austin led his Panthers in scoring with a game-high 20 points in his debut for HPU. Austin finished one rebound shy of a double-double. Both John-Michael Wright and Emmanuel Izunabor recorded double-doubles as Wright had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Izunabor brought in a game-high 17 boards while adding 16 points.
The game placed the two universities of President Nido Qubein against each other on the court. President Qubein began his American college education at the University of Mount Olive and completed his undergraduate degree at High Point University.
Prior to the game, the court was dedicated to Tubby and Donna Smith by Nido and Marianna Qubein. The crowd roared as the announcement of the dedication became official naming the court of the Qubein Center, Tubby and Donna Smith Court.
Tubby Smith: “We appreciate Mount Olive for coming over and playing hard. They are missing some of their key players and we are missing a few of our guys but we got through it. We got through the preseason, a scrimmage, and an exhibition now we have to focus on real games but I think our guys for the most part played hard. Our concentration waned some but otherwise, I was pleased with our effort.”
Austin on the win: “I was just happy to be back playing basketball, coming back from not playing this year am I just happy to be out there and to play in front of these great fans.”
Austin hit the first basket in the history of the Qubein Center to put HPU up 2-0 in the early going.
Over the first four minutes, HPU went on a 12-0 run to start the game, Austin and the Panthers kept the intensity as Mount Olive tried to fight back into the game. Austin put back a rebound with a jam much to the delight of the Panther faithful.
With the Panthers leading by 17 hit a three that made it a 25-8 which brought the Qubein Center on to its feet As High Point kept the momentum on their side.
Bryson Childress came off the bench and nailed a three and pointed to President Qubein as he ran down to the other end. Childress finished the night with eight points. Childress went 2-4 from beyond the mark on the evening.
The Panthers ended the half with two head-turning plays as Wright was able to still assist an Austin three-pointer Wright passed as he fell down Austin caught the feed and knocked down the three to go up.
With less than two minutes to play in the first half, Jaden House made a takeaway that he took all the way to the rim and finished it with a jam. House finished up the night with 14 points, he was the fifth Panther in double digits.
With less than seven to go HPU found the exclamation on the evening as Rob Peterson III found Izunabor who slammed with two hands as the Panther lead grew to thirty as time ticked on.
HPU picked up the exhibition win against Mount Olive Thursday night 95-70.
UP NEXT: The Panthers open the regular season against Shenandoah inside the Qubein Center at 8:00 pm on Tuesday.