Edwards, Panther men clip Eagles
Junior guard Derrell Edwards entered the weekend having shot just 11 percent (3-for-27) from three-point range in his previous 10 games. And he missed his first three long-distance tries on Saturday afternoon at Winthrop.
Undeterred, Edwards made three in a row during a 13-0 second-half rally that put the High Point Panthers in front for good in their 74-61 triumph in Saturday’s Big South opener.
“He hit some timely shots,” said HPU Coach Scott Cherry. “I give him a lot of credit for stepping up and hitting some big ones.”
Five different Panthers scored between 10 and 13 points, with Edwards adding all nine of his during the game’s signature run. Down 44-42 with 11:18 left, High Point (6-7, 1-0) caught fire over the next three and half minutes, with Edwards sinking triples from the left corner on consecutive possessions to put the Panthers up 55-44 with eight to go.
“This game is about runs,” said Edwards. “They had their run, and we had our run. We got stops when it counted and made a big run.”
Adam Weary and Allan Chaney each scored 13, while Devante Wallace added 11, and John Brown and Dejuan McGaughy scored 10 apiece. Brown, the team’s leading scorer on the year, was limited to just 17 minutes due to foul trouble.
“John’s a marked man,” said Cherry. “It’s gonna be a challenge, but he hung with it. The guys around him really stepped up.”
Despite trailing 29-26 at the break, the Panthers erupted for 48 after halftime and did not turn the ball over a single time in the final 17 minutes. With 11 assists and seven turnovers in the contest, the Panthers finished with a positive assist/turnover ratio for the ninth time in 13 games. High Point also outrebounded by Winthrop by 46-31, including a 14-5 margin on the offensive glass that manifested itself in a 16-5 disparity in second-chance points.
Three Eagles tallied double-figure scoring, led by Gideon Gamble’s game-best 14. But after winning 12 out of the first 13 meetings against High Point inside the Winthrop Coliseum, the Eagles (6-7, 0-1) dropped their second straight against the Panthers in their own arena.
High Point’s victory gives the Panthers the chance to accomplish something that has not been done since the 2003-04 season: win consecutive road games to begin conference play. HPU will travel to Radford on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tipoff against the Highlanders.
“I haven’t had a lot of success up there,” said Cherry. “It’s been ugly a few times. I just want to break that streak.
“I feel like I’ve got the team to do it.”