Game #9-337: High Point Panthers at Charleston Southern BuccaneersJanuary 19, 2013 5:30 pm
After watching the leaders of the Big South North Division, VMI, lose to Coastal Carolina, I was on my way to see the leaders of the South Division, Charleston Southern. The Bucs would be facing a cross-divisional opponent in High Point. With the Keydets loss, Charleston Southern was the last team left in the conference that was undefeated, which was not a surprise to many since they were the preseason favorites.
High Point was coming in with one loss in league play, and seemed to be performing a lot better now that the conference season had begun. The Panthers had become way too reliant on forwards John Brown and Allan Chaney in the non-conference losses I had seen them play. Freshman guard Adam Weary had stepped up lately to help ease the scoring load from the two talented forwards.
High Point would need some more help from the backcourt though if they wanted to contain the Bucs. Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley have been dissecting opponents with drives to the basket and either creating easy scores in the paint or kicking it out to the numerous three-point gunners. I had seen Charleston Southern take apart Longwood, but was intrigued if they could do the same to the Panthers.
After not getting any food at the first game, I was starving and had some time to spare, plus I needed to catch up on some recaps. I was hoping to kill two birds with one stone when I decided to go to Hatchell's in Mt Pleasant, which is a city just outside of Charleston. The food has always been good at Hatchell's and it was again that day. I ordered the brunch burger that had lettuce, tomato, cheese, a potato pancake, bacon and a fried egg on top of it. Needless to say I was full the rest of the day, but was perturbed to find out there was no wi-fi anymore. I also got the odd look I am accustomed to these days when I asked that the Syracuse-Louisville game be switched over to the Creighton-Wichita State game.
Unfortunately, I was not able to watch all of that game since I needed to get to the Buc Dome. Ian McCormick
had beat me there and already had a seat in the top row (which is like the sixth row at CSU Field House). I sat next to him knowing full well that he may get frustrated watching his alma mater High Point. I had no real rooting interest, but hoped the Panthers did well because I have been through the anguish that struggling teams can bring.
I was surprised at a lack of any student section throughout the game for the Bucs. There technically is no student section in the arena as the students share the general admission seating with everyone else. The whole left side of the bleachers is usually students who stand throughout the game, and with the Bucs leading the Big South, I figured support would be growing for the team. The opposite seemed to be the case as it was one of the least-lively crowds I had seen at a Charleston Southern game and no students standing.
It is not as if CSU did not have anything to cheer about since they came out with a 13-1 run. I could tell Ian was already perturbed and pleading with head coach Scott Cherry to call a timeout. High Point could not get a shot off and kept turning it over while the Bucs were burying threes from everywhere. Chaney and Brown were early non-factors, but Weary kept the Panthers in it and pulled the lead back to a manageable 15-11 at the second media timeout.
High Point started turning the ball over again and Charleston Southern was taking advantage, remaining hot from long distance. In particular, Jeremy Sexton could not miss, Ian was baffled as to why the Panthers kept leaving Sexton open, since he was unstoppable from behind the arc.
The lead went back to double digits for CSU, but High Point started hitting a few shots as well. Jairus Simms cut it to seven late in the half. Charleston Southern went on another run to close the half though, as Sexton buried two more threes to up the lead to 15 at the end of the first half. I have rarely seen a half like what Sexton had, he poured in 23 points, was 8-for-8 from the field and 7-for-7 from three.
There was another half yet to go, and unfortunately it was a common theme for High Point to have to dig itself out of a huge hole. They were able to chop into the lead though with some threes of their own from Weary and Derell Edwards by the first media timeout and the score was 53-45. The Bucs started to get a little bit sloppy, but Nimley, Harper, and Sexton built the lead back up again by attacking the basket and getting to the charity stripe.
High Point tried everything they could to reclaim the momentum and had a small stretch where their press forced a few turnovers in the backcourt, where they got five quick points. Those small runs would always end up being countered by Charleston Southern. Buc big man Allie Fullah would find himself the beneficiary of several dunks off dribble drives and anytime he threw one down, the CSU band would do Daniel Bryan's "YES! YES! YES!" chant, marking the first time I had heard a WWE chant
make it into a basketball game.
I will give the Panthers credit for never giving up though. A Weary three and a Brown dunk trimmed the lead again, and two Dejuan McGaughy free throws had CSU's lead down to 75-69. It would not be enough though, as who else? Sexton, hit a jumper with just over a minute to go to create a lead that High Point could not come back from.
Once the game ends at CSU, fans are free to walk wherever most of the time and several just cut across the court criss-crossing the players. One of the fans described as "Superfan Tim" earlier during one of the timeout contests walked out on the court and yelled at High Point player Corey Law "Hey Law, YOU STILL SUCK!!!"