CHARLESTON, S.C. – Jordan Whitehead’s tip-in with 2:06 remaining gave High Point the lead for good as the Panthers held off Charleston Southern, 51-50, in Saturday’s Big South Conference opener at the Buc Dome.
CSU (6-8, 0-1 Big South) led much of the way and was up seven at the 8:37 mark before HPU (8-7, 1-0 Big South) reeled off a 9-0 spurt to take its first lead since early in the first half. Christian Keeling buried a three-pointer to briefly put CSU back on top, but Whitehead’s tip and two Brandonn Kamga free throws gave the Panthers enough points to prevail in the defensive struggle. The Bucs had the ball last with a chance to win, but Keeling’s off-balance three fell off the mark at the buzzer.
CSU turned in another strong defensive effort, holding HPU to 35 percent shooting, including just a 24 percent mark in the opening stanza. The Bucs struggled offensively, though, shooting just 30 percent, including a 9-for-38 clip from downtown.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh liked his team’s grit but knows they must execute better down the stretch.
“To hold a team to 35 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three and lose at home is tough,” Radebaugh said. “The offensive end is where our struggles have been at times, and were tonight. We’ll keep working and pushing to get better there. I loved our guys’ effort and want-to. We just need to make more plays and shots offensively.”
How It Happened
· After HPU put together a 15-3 run to draw even at 38 apiece, CSU answered with seven straight points. Keeling buried a trey, Travis McConico knocked down a jumper and Dontrell Shuler hit two free throws to give the Bucs a 45-38 edge with 8:37 left.
· HPU countered with a 9-0 run to take its first lead since the 13:48 mark of the opening period. CSU was held scoreless for 5:52 before Keeling hit another triple to give CSU its last lead.
· Two Kamga free throws with 1:30 left put HPU ahead, 51-48. CSU then sandwiched two stops around a Deontaye Buskey layup. The latter stop was a shot clock violation, giving CSU the ball down one with 14 seconds remaining. Keeling’s left-wing three at the final horn missed, however, giving the Panthers the win.
Inside the Numbers
· Whitehead paced HPU with 11 points and ten rebounds, including five offensive boards. HPU, the Big South’s top rebounding team, recorded a 46-31 advantage on the glass.
· CSU limited Jahaad Proctor, the league’s third-leading scorer, to eight points on 3-for-12 shooting. Proctor did hand out six assists.
· Keeling paced CSU with 12 points but required 15 shots to do so. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. tallied all 11 of his points in the first half, while Buskey chipped in ten.