Colonels dismiss Panthers, 73-70
John Brown did a lot of things again Friday night, but he couldn’t complete one final rally for the High Point University men’s basketball team.
Brown powered the Panthers with 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half as they rallied from eight behind Eastern Kentucky. But HPU got away from the driving and dishing that helped it lead by two with five minutes to play, fell behind by five with just over two to go and came up short when Brown’s 3-pointer from midcourt failed to reach the rim, allowing the Colonels to escape with a 73-70 victory at the Millis Center.
The shot came after Glenn Cosey hit one of two free throws to put Eastern up by 3 with 3.8 seconds to play.
“I was just too far out,” said Brown, who snagged 10 rebounds. “I needed to take a couple of more dribbles and I would have made it. But with just three seconds, that was the best I could do. Having five seconds would have nice.”
HPU coach Scott Cherry said the plan was to get the ball closer to the basket.
“We had a couple guys open down the court,” Cherry said. “But with three seconds and no timeouts, it’s tough to get the play you want.”
HPU’s sixth straight loss against an NCAA Division I foe came against a team that improved to 10-2 and ended a two-game losing streak. The Panthers are 4-6 heading into a tournament in Chattanooga next week.
Cherry was happy with the effort. The Panthers had 17 assists on 25 made field goals, committed 16 turnovers against a pressure defense and held the Colonels to 30 per cent from 3-point range. Allan Chaney added 14 points for the Panthers, while Derrell Edwards added 11.
Mike DiNunno led Eastern with 22 points and sank four free throws in the final 29.9 seconds. Corey Walder added 13.
“We played a complete game from start to finish,” Cherry said. “We missed several shots (at least four) from close range in the first half and then came back against a good basketball team. We made a shot or get a stop and it’s a different story.”
Thanks in part to missing the point-blank shots the Panther trailed by as 12, that with 10:18 left in the first half, before cutting the margin to six at the half. Brown and Chaney had only five points combined while HPU couldn’t penetrate the Colonels’ defense at times and settled for jump shots. Brown, who was double-teamed early, made just 1 of 8 shots in the first 20 minutes.
“We were slow getting going,” Brown said. “They were double-teaming me and we were standing around too much.”
The Panthers were down eight before going on a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the second half at 43-40 on a Chaney 3. The rally came after Jairus Simms, who did not start after missing two days of practice because of illness, replaced Dejuan McGaughy at point guard.
The Panthers led for the last time at 58-56 on a dunk by Brown with just over five to go. Eastern that went up by five and HPU could get no closer than two, the last time on Chaney’s follow with 5.2 seconds to go.