GAME NOTES: The High Point Panthers set their sights on the Big South Conference crown, as they play host to the Campbell Fighting Camels in the regular-season finale for both squads on Friday evening at the Millis Center.
High Point was picked as the preseason favorite in the Big South's North Division and despite a modest 15-13 overall record, the Panthers delivered on that, with an 11-4 mark in conference play. High Point enters the season finale having won five straight and nine of its last 10 games, including a 70-67 decision over VMI on Wednesday to secure a bye in the upcoming conference tournament. A win here would give the Panthers the North Division and overall Big South Conference crowns as well as the league's automatic bid to the NIT.
Campbell's season has headed in the wrong direction of late. The Fighting Camels are a disappointing 12-18 overall, including a mere 6-9 mark in Big South play. Campbell has lost four straight games and seven of its last eight overall, including Wednesday's 82-78 decision at Radford.
High Point holds a slim 25-22 series advantage over Campbell, but the Camels are seeking the season-sweep after earning a 74-71 victory back on Jan. 8 to open Big South play.
Campbell trailed by as many as 16 points in the game against Radford and by 12 with just under six minutes to play, but rallied late to tie things up at 73-73, before faltering down the stretch against the Highlanders. The Camels shot 53.4 percent from the floor overall, including a scorching 64.5 percent in the second half in the comeback bid. The team was also fueled by an impressive 13-of-24 showing from behind the arc. D.J. Mason and Andrew Ryan led the way for Campbell with 18 points each in the loss. Luke Moyer and Reco McCarter made sizable contributions as well, finishing with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Fighting Camels' efficiency at the offensive end against Radford was a bit of an anomaly. On the season, Campbell is generating a modest 68.0 ppg on just .443 shooting. In addition, the team has suffered from negative margins in both rebounding (-2.2) and turnovers (-2.6). However, the team's scoring is balanced, with four players currently averaging double figures. McCarter leads the team at 12.7 ppg. He is followed by Darius Leonard (10.7 ppg), Mason (10.6 ppg) and Ryan (10.2 ppg).
The Panthers suffer from a negative scoring margin this season (-1.6), but that hasn't been the case in league play. High Point lost a huge asset when Allan Chaney (15.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg) was lost early on with a heart condition, but others stepped up to fill the void. John Brown has been unstoppable, as the 6- foot-8 sophomore ranks third in the conference in scoring (19.8 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (7.9 rpg). Junior guard Devante Wallace (12.4 ppg) is the team's resident sniper, shooting just under 50 percent from long range and pacing the team with 68 3-pointers.
High Point led from start to finish but did have to hold off a VMI rally to put itself in prime position to claim the Big South crown. Brown once again played a huge role in the victory, recording a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Wallace poured in 16 points, while Anthony Lindauer chipped in with 10. High Point finished the game shooting 51.8 percent from the floor overall and took a 14-point lead into intermission (39-25) thanks to a 55.2 percent effort in the first half.
Campbell may have gotten the better of High Point in the first meeting, but the Panthers have their eyes on the prize and should close out the regular- season with a celebration at the Millis Center.
Game Date and Time