Full Version: 2019-20 Schedule and Results
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The schedule for the coming season is a tough one, and includes road games against high profile teams St. Louis, Boston College, and Texas. Other challenges on the road include Belmont, Wofford, and Florida Atlantic. The non-conference will tell us a lot about the team prior to Big South play.

The Panthers have their Purple and White Scrimmage today. Good chance for the local fans to see the team in action.

The Panthers take on DIII Averett tonight in an exhibition game. It will be the final tune up before the regular season opener next Tuesday. While it will be interesting to see who starts tonight, that will likely be a result of who has impressed in recent practices, rather than an indication of who is expected to start next Tuesday or, more importantly, when the conference season begins. I'm looking forward to seeing Othello Smith in action, along with Cliff Thomas. Of course, the main goal in a game that doesn't count is...NOBODY GET HURT.


HPU beat Averett last night 79-68. It was a close game, with both teams scoring 39 points in the second half. Coach Smith played nine players, with minutes ranging from Cliff Thomas with 14 to John Michael Wright with 35 minutes of action. The only scholarship players not to see action were Othello Smith and Rob Peterson. High scorers were Eric Coleman with 14 and Bryant Randleman with 12. Denny Slay dished out six assists. Wright and Randleman were high rebounders with six apiece. Shooting percentage from the floor was good, but there were too many turnovers. There is plenty to work on before Tuesday's clash with William & Mary, but there were some good signs, too.


The High Point Panthers take on the William & Mary Tribe tonight to open up the 2019-20 season. W&M is in the first year under new coach Dane Fischer, a former George Mason assistant. Preseason polls have William & Mary picked to finish seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association. They are led by center Nathan Knight, who comes in at 6-10, 245 and is an all conference first team preseason pick.

It's hard to know what to expect from HPU this season. Last season we finished with a winning record overall and in conference, despite several players missing significant time with injuries. Holland and Kamga sitting out so many games obviously hurt, and I think having Cliff Thomas all season (instead of only for two games) would have made a huge difference. As last season game to an end, I was looking forward to 2019-20, hoping for a healthy roster, and talented freshman class, and the return of some valuable upperclassmen.

Of course, it's didn't work out that way. Kamga and Proctor, our leading scorers, decided to leave via the grad transfer route. Proctor landed at Purdue, which makes sense, but Kamga ended up at Cal State Fullerton, which as a bit puzzling. Leaving to go to a Big Ten team is one thing, but I'm surprised that Kamga would leave the team where he was likely to have a major role in the Big South, for a team in the Big West. At any rate, their departures left some holes to fill.

I expect that the staff is hoping for a big year from guard Curtis Holland. He showed some potential last season and should be ready for a bigger role. Guards Denny Slay and Jamal Wright both are experienced players. I think both Caden Sanchez and Cliff Thomas can play big roles in the front court. Sanchez has good size and played in 31 games last year. Thomas made an impact in both games he played last year before his foot injury shut him down, going for 10 and 6 in 21 minutes against Charleston Southern.

I think the key will be getting some solid contributions from at least a few of the freshmen. John Michael Wright played over 30 minutes in the exhibition game and did some positive things. Eric Coleman and Bryant Randleman both cracked double figures in the exhibition. Getting a big season from Othello Smith, who sat out last year as a redshirt, would go a long way towards helping us to a successful season. Overall, it's a talented freshman class, and it includes some candidates to contribute immediately.

We'll know more after tonight's game. Go Panthers.

Preview from the official HPU website is below.

Final score: William & Mary 70, High Point 56. HPU fell behind in a slow start and never could really get back in the game. Nathan Knight hurt the Panthers, as expected, with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Scott Thornton did most of the damage against HPU, shooting 6-8 from three point land on his way to 22 points.

Coach Smith started three freshmen, Wright, Randleman, and Coleman, along with Sanchez and Holland. Wright led the way with 17 points, but shot only 7-18 from the floor. On the plus side, he only had one turnover in 32 minutes. Freshman Emmanuel Izunabor showed some real promise, getting four points, six rebounds, and three blocks in 18 minutes.

All in all, you'd love to get that win in the home opener, but it's a long season. Saturday's game against Wofford will be a tough one.

The Panthers meet Wofford tomorrow for their first road game of the season. Tough environment, and Wofford is the clear favorite. The schedule gets even tougher after this.

The Panthers got off to a good start, leading Wofford by 11 in the first half, but the rest of the game was all Wofford. Ugly loss, with a very difficult game against Boston College coming up on Wednesday. Rob Peterson did some good things, Curtis Holland was the high scorer with 14, and John Michael Wright continued to take care of the basketball, with only one turnover in 30 minutes.

HPU couldn't throw the ball in the ocean in their loss to Boston College Wednesday night. The final score was 59-33. On the plus side, the Panthers were even with the Eagles in rebounding, 41-41, and held BC to 37% shooting overall. Unfortunately, HPU struggled to score all night, and gave up a 23-0 run in the second half. Denny Slay was the lone bright spot offensively with 10 points. Sanchez, Thomas, Wright, and Izunabor all rebounded the ball well. The Panthers had a whopping 29 turnovers. I can't remember seeing that many turnovers from a Tubby Smith team.

Next up for HPU is a road game against Belmont on Monday.

I was worried about the Belmont game after Belmont scored 100 points while beating Boston College. My fear was well founded as Belmont beat the Panthers 90-51. HPU fell behind 28-8 at the start and struggled the entire game. There was a brief sign of life as the team scored 11 in a row to start the second half, but other than that, it was hard to find positives.


Next up is another daunting challenge, on the road against St. Louis, an Atlantic 10 team that made the NCAA tournament last season.
Through the first six games of the season, we're still searching for our first win. I have been encouraged by some good stretches of ball against St. Louis and Eastern Washington. We're taking some hard hits during what is a stretch of tough games, and hopefully, we're learning some lessons.

Next up, Greensboro College on Tuesday.

The Panthers finally broke the losing streak, getting a 90-73 victory over D3 Greensboro College on Tuesday night. Curtis Holland had a big game. Game was a little closer than I would have preferred, but a loss would have been heartbreaking. I'll take a 17 point win for our young team.
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