Site: High Point, N.C. (Qubein Center)
Score: High Point 71, Longwood 78
Records: High Point 11-16 (5-8), Longwood 20-6 (12-1)
HIGH POINT, N.C. — In the largest crowd in Qubein Center history, the Panthers fell in a tight contest to Longwood 78-71 in the first nationally televised game on ESPNU in the Qubein Center. The raucous crowd of over 5,500 was loud and carried the Panthers in key moments in both the first and second halves. Jaden House led the Panthers with 20 points on the day, while John-Michael Wright also scored 18 points and led the Panthers with 7 rebounds. Bryant Randleman and Zack Austin also scored in double digits for the Panthers with 12 and 10 points each, respectively.
Coach GG Smith: “First of all I would like to congratulate Longwood on the win. I thought they came in ready to play. They have some veteran guys who have been around and they are the best team in the league for a reason. They came into a tough environment, I thought our crowd was great to start the game, they were great the whole game, they stayed till the end. It was a big night for us, very disappointing. We fought back there in the second half we actually took the lead once 57-56 but just did not finish the game. This has been an issue for us all year, we really worked in practice about how to finish games, having better spacing on offense and how to get the key stops in late game situations. We weren’t able to win the game but I thought their three best players played very well. Their best players played really well in this type of environment, and I thought that was the biggest difference in the game.”
The Panthers got on the board first on a jumper by Wright that had the Qubein Center rocking. After back to back baskets by the Lancers, Emmanuel Izunabor scored on a bucket inside to bring the Panthers to a 5-4 deficit.
House had a dribble drive layup at the rim; however, the Panthers found themselves trailing 14-8 at the under-16 media timeout. The Lancers extended their lead to ten, but Wright buried a three from the corner on an assist from Randleman to make it a 20-13 game at the 12:19 mark. After a defensive stop, Wright drilled another 3 to cut the Lancer lead to four.
Alex Holt got fouled and made a layup right before the under 12-media timeout to bring the Panthers to a 23-18 deficit at the 11:23 mar
The Lancers extended the lead to 33-21 at the 8:00 minute mark after a 7-0 run. After some back and forth action, the Panthers cut the lead to eight at 37-29 after a driving layup from Wright. Wright continued to lead the Panthers offense with a triple from the baseline on a dish by Rob Peterson III . The Panthers trailed 39-32 at the under-4 media timeout.
Austin hit a three after the break to cut the lead to 40-35 on a dish from Wright at the 2:35 mark. The Lancers ended the half on a 5-0 run to lead 45-35 at the break. Wright led the Panthers with 14 points and 5 rebounds in the first half.
The Panthers and the Lancers traded baskets to open the second half and the Panthers found themselves within nine at the under-16 media timeout, trailing by a score of 50-41.
House drilled a deep three to pull the Panthers within six points; after a defensive stop Randleman drove right, made a layup, and got fouled on the play. Randleman made the free throw to make it a one possession game at 50-47 with 14:08 to play.
After a Lancer free throw, House scored on a layup inside to bring the Panthers within two at 51-49 at the under-12 media timeout. The teams continued to alternate baskets until the Panthers took their first lead of the second half on a three pointer by Austin to lead 57-56 at the 9:33 mark.
After a Lancer 7-0 run that lasted 4:55, the Panthers finally got on the board with a free throw by Randleman to cut the lead to 63-58.
The Lancers extended their lead to 70-58, before the Panthers responded with a 5-0 run on back-to-back basked by house to cut the deficit to 70-63. After a Lancer basket, House scored his third consecutive basket to cut the Lancer lead to 7 at 72-65.
However, Longwood made some free throws down the stretch and held on to win 78-71. House led the Panthers with 20 points, while Wright chipped in 18 points and 7 rebounds.
UP NEXT: HPU will make the short trip to Radford, VA for a game against Radford on Saturday, February 19th. Tip-off is set for 2pm and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.