Cherry warns Panthers not to be overconfident
On paper, the prospects appear to be in favor of High Point University when its plays host to Longwood in a Big South men’s matchup tonight at the Millis Center (7 p.m., WMFR).
HPU, 9-10 overall, is 4-3 in the conference and just a game out of first in the North division. Longwood is riding an 11-game winless streak, is last in the North at 0-7 and in 21 games has just three victories, just one of them over a Division I opponent.
Panthers coach Scott Cherry is naturally sounding the warning not to take the Lancers too lightly.
“We talked to the guys that they can’t play according to the records,” Cherry said. “Longwod has been in several games late. All of their losses in the conference have been pretty close except for the one against Liberty (74-47). They lost to UNC Asheville by just three and were down one with five minutes to play against Presbyterian (in what became an 11-point loss).
“They’re a young team that has gotten better. So, we can’t play the records. We have to go out, stick to the game plan and do what we do.”
The Panthers are trying to rebound from a disappointing 69-58 loss to Asheville in which the Bulldogs riddled the HPU defense in the second half by shooting shot 61 percent from the field and hitting 3 of 6 3-point shots.
“Not playing well on the road has been a thorn in our side all season,” Cherry said. “We’ve played pretty well at home. But not executing our game plan has been our main problem on the road. We just didn’t execute defensively at Asheville. Offensively, we played well enough to give us a chance and we still had a shot when we were within four and had the ball with a chance to make it a one-possession game.”
The Panthers got no closer and lost after leading early in the second half.
“But we just had too many mistakes defensively,” Cherry said. “You can’t let a team shoot nearly 62 percent and expect to win. We had a simple breakdown. We didn’t get over ball-screens and get to the shooter. We left guys who we shouldn’t have been left open trying to help with our inside defense. We let them split the traps on our press and get 3-on-1 fast breaks.
“You’re going to have some mistakes occasionally but you can’t have them like we had them.”
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