HPU men look to bounce back
Trying to bounce back from a defeat that coach Scott Cherry believes was partially a product of overconfidence, the High Point University men’s basketball team will be a decided favorite tonight at the Millis Center.
The Panthers play host to 0-4 St. Andrews University, an NAIA school located in Laurinburg that is a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The Knights have been outscored by an average of 28.5 points in the four games counting towards its record this season.
Their losses have been at the hands of other small schools – Pikeville University, Voohrees College, Morris College and Mars HIll. They also lost an exhibition game to Winthrop by 32.
“Their record might not be good and the scores might not be good,” Cherry said. “But they are going to come in here and compete. Getting to play a Division I opponent is their Super Bowl. So we can’t assume that we are going to show up and win by 30.”
He said taking too much for granted contributed to the Panthers’ 83-61 loss Saturday at the Millis Center after winning big against UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State.
“We didn’t do a lot of the little things that we did in the first two games,” Cherry said. “We walked in against a good team that was ready to compete and they took it to us.”
On offense, the Panthers settled too much for jumpshots against the Tribe.
“We didn’t get the ball in the paint either by driving it in there or passing it,” Cherry said. “We didn’t attack the basket as we should. I think we were hurt by the number of outside shots we made against Appalachian State. We took those shots against William & May and they didn’t go in.”
On defense, the Panthers did come up with enough weak-side help at times.
“We were beaten on back door cuts three or four times and were hurt by two-man screens and not fighting through ball screen,” Cherry said. “We’ve got to learn that we have to have five guys guarding the ball.”
The mistakes helped the Panthers fall behind by 19 in the first half.
“The guys have watched the film and know what mistakes they made and the things we need to do to get better,” Cherry said. “We could be 3-0 but I’m happy that we’re 2-1 because we played three good teams from good conferences. I’m just disappointed about the way we played against William & Mary.
“I’m just glad that it happened in November and we have time to get better. We got complacent and it turned out to be a great learning experience for the guys, And it was good that happened when it did because we can use it as a teaching tool we can reference should we win a few games in a row in conference play and start to get too comfortable. “
On the injury front, Cherry expects senior Corey Law to return to action. The senior has been recovering from hernia surgery.