HPU cruises past Appalachian
The High Point University men’s basketball team passed its first road test with flying colors.
Taking advantage of stringent defense and torrid shooting, the Panthers opened up a 27-point lead late in the first half and cruised to a 86-64 victory over Appalachian State before a sparse crowd at the Holmes Center.
John Brown led the Panthers with 20 points and seven rebounds while also providing four blocked shots, two steals and two assists. Allan Chaney added 18 points and six rebounds. Dejuan McGaughy had 15 and Derrell Edwards 13.
“We just played together,” Brown said. “Coach told us this a good team and disciplined. We had to play our game and do what we do well, and that’s what we did.”
HPU (2-0) took absolute control with a 28-6 run to go up 46-19 with 2:25 left in the first half. Brown helped start the burst with a spin move and dunk on the base line and ended it with a reverse jam. But he was far from the only key as Edwards, Dejuan McGaughy, Adam Weary, Chaney and Justin Cheek contributed as the Panthers scored in transition off steals and long rebounds.
“The guys knew the game plan and the personnel and went out and performed really well,” HPU coach Scott Cherry said. “We got out in transitions off steals and some long rebounds, and scored over 20 points in transition.
And I wouldn’t say that we were great on the defensive end but we were good enough.”
Appalachian (1-1) switched to a 2-3 zone during the run but it did little to slow the Panthers, who shot 64.5 per cent (20 of 31) from the field in the first half. Helped by hitting 6 of their first 7 shots in the second half, the Panthers led by as much as 30 at 65-35.
The Panthers wound up shooting 57 percent for the game, had 17 assists on 35 field goals and committed 10 turnovers. They held ASU to 37.5 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers.
“We were good but not where we need to be,” Cherry said. “We want to be really good in January and February. Defensively, we allowed them to get to the paint too many times. We got to step up and take more charges,
We’ve got to keep the ball of the paint, and we got our transition defense set really well and we didn’t allow many second chance points.”
Jamestown resident and former Ragsdale product Jay Canty led the Mountaineers with 23 points and five rebounds. Chris Burgess had 16 and Tevin Baskin 10. They also held ASU guard Tab Hamilton to five points after he scored 18 in the Mountaineers opener.
“They were just tougher than us,” Canty said. “They had more fire, more energy and we kind of fell under the bus.”
Canty said he knew of the quality Panthers’ talent after playing pickup games with them during the summer at HPU and against HPU guard Jairus Sims and others at other gyms.
“We knew that we going to come out and play with a lot of intensity and energy,” Canty said. “John Brown is a horse on the boards. I wasn’t surprised at all.
Mountaineer freshman Michael Obacha, who played in high school at High Point Christian, started for the first time and scored four points in 21 minutes.