Panthers look to cut down Sycamores
For the past two games, the outside shooters on the High Point University men’s basketball team have lost their touch.
HPU coach Scott Cherry wasn’t ready to push the panic button as the Panthers prepared for today’s game at Indiana State (WMFR, 1 p.m.).
“I feel confident the guys will bounce back,” Cherry said. “They showed they could hit those shots in the first two games. Sometimes you just hit a bit of a lull.”
The inaccurate shooting in a loss to William & Mary and win over St. Andrews included starting shooting guard Derrell Edwards going 1 of 16 from the field, reserve wing Adam Weary hitting 8 of 21 attempts and backup point guard Dejaun McGaughy making 5 of his 18 shots.
From 3-point range, HPU shot a miserable 5 of 38 (2 of 22 against the Tribe and 3 of 16 against St. Andrews).
“We need to start making outside shots,” Cherry said. “We don’t necessarily need to be shooting a lot of 3s. But we need to drive and take the shot or kick it out.”
Unable to score from outside, the Panthers have been dependent on post players John Brown and Allan Chaney for offense. William & Mary and St. Andrews both challenged the Panthers to make shots from the outside by playing zone defenses, with St. Andrews packing their zone in the paint in an effort to deny the post players the ball.
Cherry doesn’t believe Indiana State (3-1) will go with the zone strategy after reviewing their games – an opening loss to UCLA and wins over Winthrop, Ball State and Truman State.
“I’ve watched tape of all four of their games and the only time they played zone was for a few possessions against UCLA,” Cherry said. “Their coach (Greg Lansing) is a man-to-man guy. You would think that they would stay with what they’ve been doing but you never know.”
The Sycamores of the Missouri Valley Conference, who went to the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the 2011 NCAA Tournament, are led by guard Jake Odom, a preseason All-MVC selection who is averaging 14.8 points, 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also has 129 steals for his career.
“He’s the guy that makes them go,” Cherry said.
The Sycamores have also started 6-6 Manny Arop (8.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg), 6-10 sophomore Jake Kitchell and 6-8 Justin Grant (8.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg) in all four games. The top reserve is 6-9 freshman R.J. Mahurin, who is averaging 11 ppg.
“This a going to be a tough test for us, facing a good MVC team on the road,” Cherry said. “They are going to be physical. They’ve got size and skill all the way around.”