Site: High Point, N.C. (Qubein Center)
Score: High Point 55, FAU 52
Records: High Point (6-6), FAU (7-6)
HIGH POINT, N.C. — High Point University men’s basketball defeated Florida Atlantic 55-52 on Tuesday night (Dec. 21st) in the Qubein Center. Jaden House led the way for HPU with 14 points. House hit two big free throws at the end of the game to seal the Panther victory. Zach Austin was the second Panther in double figures he finished with a double-double posting 12 points and bringing in 10 boards. It was the third double-double of his young career. Tonight’s game wrapped up HPU’s non-conference home slate, the next home HPU game will be against Winthrop as Big South play begins on January 5th.
Tubby Smith: “I thought we played as well as we could have tonight, we shot the ball well and did some excellent things. It was a great win for us especially after the tough losses we have had. I am happy for Jaden, he played well tonight. He finally got to the free-throw line at the times that we needed him to and made the free throws,’ Coach Smith said with a smile. “It is a feel-good game for us going into the Christmas break and hopefully we can build on this, we reached three of our goals tonight which were to outrebound our opponent and we did, something we haven’t done in three or four straight games. We wanted to limit our turnovers to ten or less and we had ten, then we really stopped them in transition we limited them to three transition points. We did a good job.”
House got the offense started for HPU scoring the first seven of The Panthers’ first 11 points. After eight minutes played, House led the way in scoring for the Panthers with seven points going 3-5 out of the gate.
The Panthers started heating up, going 3-4 in a little over a minute tying the game at 19. The 8-2 HPU run included a three from Austin, a steal then a lay-up on the other end by Brock Williams, and then a game-tying three from House to knot the game at 19 with 7:05 remaining in the first half.
With 3:55 to play in the first a hard drive to the basket by Bryant Randleman gave HPU a one-point lead, 23-22.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half and the shot clock winding down, Austin threw up a three that looked good from the second he released it. Austin knocked down the triple to put HPU up 26-24 with less than 50 seconds left in the half.
FAU hit a three at the buzzer to take a 27-26 advantage into halftime.
House led HPU in scoring after 20 minutes played inside the Qubein Center with ten points.
It was a closely contested game throughout the night as neither side led by more than six at any point in the game.
Randleman hit a three in the early going of the second half to push his Panthers back in front of the Owls with 16:10 to play in the game.
Alex Holt put together two big plays in the paint over about two minutes on the game clock. Holt scored two baskets on the inside to ultimately put HPU up 39-36 with 13:26 left in the second half.
As the Panthers looked to create more of a lead Holt found Austin who slammed it home to give HPU a 43-38 advantage with 11:57 to play.
With just under ten to play and the game tied at 43, House drove down the floor and quickly found an open John-Michael Wright who hit a three to put the Panthers in front 46-43. Wright ended the night with nine points.
An Austin floater with 4:36 to play gave the Purple & White a 52-47 lead.
House hit two big free throws at the end of the game and the Panthers closed out the game, winning 55-52 over the Owls of FAU.
HPU wraps up non-conference play with two Power-5 games against Michigan State and Kentucky. The Panthers will face Michigan State in East Lansing on December 29th then will travel to Lexington as Tubby returns to Kentucky as HPU takes on Kentucky on New Year’s Eve on the SEC Network.