Georgetown poses tall challenge for HPU
Still without one of its biggest players, the High Point University men’s basketball team faces one of its biggest challenges of the season.
The Panthers will tangle with legendary power Georgetown tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The game will be televised nationally on FoxSports 1 at 9 p.m., making it one of the most high-profile games for HPU since Scott Cherry became coach.
“Georgetown has such a storied tradition, with all of its success and the players that it has sent to the NBA,” Cherry said. “And the game will be in such a great environment in a building where an NBA team plays and has hosted NCAA tournament rounds. Taking a trip to Washington and playing a team like that is something our kids probably won’t forget.”
They will be at a size disadvantage at nearly every position against the Hoyas, who return five key players from a team that went 27-5 last season and can go with a starting lineup of 6-10, 6-8 and 6-9 in the frontcourt, with guards 6-3 and 6-2 in the backcourt.
The Panthers will have to combat the size problem without 6-8 forward Allan Chaney, who is still out while undergoing tests to determine if he can return to action in the aftermath of his internal heart defibrillator activating in a game on Nov. 24.
“Their size does pose a challenge for us,” Cherry said. “They’re big at nearly every position. We’ll have to change up our defenses to keep them off guard. And, we’ll try to take advantage of our speed and quickness to try to offset it.”
Panther center John Brown faces one of the biggest challenges, giving up a couple of inches and nearly 150 pounds to 6-10 Josh Smith, who is a transfer from UCLA.
“He takes up a good deal of space,” Cherry said.
The Hoyas have been led on offense so far this season by 6-3 guard D’Vantes Smith-Rivera, who is averaging 18.7 points per game.
“They are going to be tough at every position,” Cherry said. “We have to play a great game. Defense is going to be one of the keys. If we make them miss, we can’t let them have second chances. We’ve got to try to get out in transition and we’ve got to take care of the ball.
“This is a big test for us. But, if we get to the NCAA tournament this year, this is the type of team we will face, and we wanted to experience that type of challenge.”