Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)
Score: High Point 68, #10 Michigan State 81
Records: High Point (6-7), #10 Michigan State (10-2)
EAST LANSING, Mich. — High Point University men’s basketball fell to Michigan State in a hard-fought effort 81-68 on Wednesday afternoon in front of nearly 15,000 inside the Breslin Center. For the second straight game, Jaden House led the Panthers in scoring with 18 points. Zack Austin had 15 points and eight rebounds as the second-highest scoring Panther. Three other Panthers were in double digits as Bryson Childress went 4-5 from three and scored 12 points while Alex Holt and John-Michael Wright each finished with 10 points. Five Panthers finished in double digits, three starters in House, Austin, and Wright then two off the bench in Childress and Holt.
Tubby Smith: If you are going to lose to somebody, Tom Izzo is certainly a worthy foe. I have lost to him a number of times. I know he was shorthanded today, but I was impressed with our kids. We kept our composure for the most part and did a good job. Hauser gave us some real problems and John-Michael struggled shooting a little bit and in a game like this, you need your best player to shoot well. We played hard, we did not always play as smart as I would have liked but we played hard. I just want to say I appreciate Tom he moved this game so we could play at Kentucky. We already had this game scheduled but he graciously moved it.
After three scoreless minutes to start the game, House put the Panthers on the board first with a three-pointer.
With 11:41 to go in the first, Brock Williams was able to find Alex Holt on the inside who finished in the paint to make it a three-point game (11-8).
With the shot clock winding down, Childress pulled up well beyond the hash mark and nailed his first shot of the day to tie the game at 13 after his three with 10:03 left to play in the first half.
Austin delivered one of the plays of the day with 7:55 to go in the first as he received a cross-court pass from Holt then slammed it over top of a Spartan defender to pull the Panthers within two. (17-15)
As MSU looked to pull away in the first half High Point answered right back with another three from House to drop the Spartan lead to four (24-20).
With 4:35 to go in the first half, JMW fed Austin who drilled a three to pull HPU within one of the Spartans. (26-25)
Childress came up big again for HPU in the latter parts of the first half, hitting a three with 3:33 to in the first half to tie the game at 30.
House pulled up and hit a deep three with less than a minute to play in the first half to give High Point a 35-34 lead #10 Michigan State at the half. It marked the third Power-5 contest for HPU this season where the Panthers either led or trailed by a point at the half.
Holt found JMW to start the second half, Wright scored on the inside to make it 39-37 with 16:45 to go in the game.
Holt threw down a monster two-handed jam with 13:56 left to play to bring the Spartan lead down to four. (47-43)
An Austin three-pointer gave High Point the lead, 50-49 with 12:02 remaining.
With 10:06 to play Childress scored another three-pointer to bring his Panthers within one of Michigan State (54-53).
With 8:58 to go, HPU swung the ball into the corner and found an open Childress. As Childress caught the ball the Breslin Center let out a collective groan, their worries proved right as Childress hit his fourth three of the day and tied the game at 56.
Austin showed off the range again and hit a three to bring the score to 65-61 as HPU was within four with 6:55 to play.
House drove hard to the basket with just under five minutes to play in the game and finished amongst contact to make it 70-63 with 4:55 to play.
The Spartans used an 11-5 run in the final five minutes to close out the game and pick up the win 81-68.
HPU heads to Lexington to face #18 the University of Kentucky on New Year’s Eve in HPU’s final non-conference game of the season. Prior to the game, the University of Kentucky will honor its 1998 national championship coach Tubby Smith. Coach Smith will become just the fourth coach to have his name displayed on a banner in the rafters of Rupp Arena joining Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, and Rick Pitino.