HPU MBB Panthers Drop Road Contest to Northwestern Despite Hot Start for HPU

Site: Evanston, IL (Welsh Ryan Arena)
Score: High Point 60, Northwestern 95
Records: High Point (1-1), Northwestern (2-0)

EVANSTON, IL — The High Point University men’s basketball team dropped its first road contest of the year to Big Ten opponent Northwestern. John-Michael Wright made performed well on a big stage scoring a game-high 23 points on the night. Wright nearly had a double-double as he matched his 23 points with nine assists.

Tubby Smith: “I thought we played a good first half, we were executing, we were limited in our bench strength, and I thought that caught up with us in the second half. Obviously, we struggled to defend them in the second half when a team shoots 78% on you in a half, and don’t if they have no one guarding them that’s pretty good. I thought our kids played hard we had a stretch at the start of the second half where we just could not make a shot and they were making everything. We have a lot to evaluate, playing against a Big Ten team like Northwestern we knew it would be a challenge. If anyone saw the first half they saw what we are capable of. “

Northwestern Head Coach Chris Collins on High Point: “We knew High Point was a good team, guys this is a team that could very well make the NCAA Tournament. You saw that their physicality, their athleticism, they have a player in John-Michael Wright that can go for thirty-plus any night. He is a terrific player. Give them credit, they came out and I thought they imposed their will early on us. They quicker to the ball, they were more physical, they were attacking the boards on us, they got us in foul trouble.”

Panther Particulars

High Point started well on the road at Northwestern. The Panthers used a 9-0 run to jump out to a 15-6 lead. It was the second game in a row HPU started the game hot and jumped out to an early lead. During the run, five minutes into the game, Wright hit a long-distance two then on the other side of the ball Rob Peterson III took a charge and won the ball back for his Panthers.

As the first half winded down, HPU held close to the Wildcats we 5:34 left in the first half Caden Sanchez took the Wildcat defender on one on one and finished with the hook to put HPU up 23-21.

Northwestern took a slight five-point lead with a minute to go in the first half. HPU went on a 4-0 run to make it a one-point game at halftime. Emmanuel Izunabor made a basket in the paint as he used his positioning on the baseline.

Wright’s pullup jumper with less than 30 seconds to go in the first half made it 34-33 at halftime as the Panthers trailed by one at the break

Northwestern answered out of halftime with a run of their own to create space going on a 17-point run in the first seven minutes of the second half. The Wildcats used their 78% shooting in the second half to help them to victory


HPU is back in the Midwest on Tuesday as HPU faces Notre Dame on the road in South Bend, Ind. On national TV on the ACC Network at 8:00 PM.