When you looked at High Point's schedule about a month ago you expected them to win at least two games in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. The Panthers were a lot more talented than Cal State Bakersfield and Prairie View A&M, but it was Hawaii that looked to be the toughest test for Scott Cherry's squad. Controversy then hit the Rainbow Warriors who lost their head coach, an assistant, and their best player as the NCAA investigated the program. Simply put, High Point took care of business in Honolulu over the past four days.
Mike Thomas went off in the first half for Hawaii scoring 14 points to spur a 31-27 lead. Then mysteriously Thomas road the bench for pretty much the whole second half and ended the game only playing 16 minutes. It took High Point a long time to claw back into the game but a Devante Wallace three pointer with 3:55 remaining finally tied the ball game at 51.
At the 3:08 mark it looked like High Point's Anthony Lindauer may have given a huge advantage to Hawaii after an ill-advised behind the back pass but Isaac Fleming returned the favor with a turnover of his own on the other end of the court. Adam Weary then had a spectacular "hoop and the harm" play with 1:41 remaining to put High Point up for good thanks solid free throw shooting from Wallace and Tarique Thompson and not so great free throw shooting from Stefan Jovanovic and Quincy Smith.
High Point marched away with a 62-54 victory and a 3-0 mark in Hawaii. John Brown lead the way with 19 points and 6 rebounds, but had 3 turnovers. Tarique Thompson and Adam Weary were the only other Panthers in double-digits with 13 and 10 points respectively.
What was most impressive for Scott Cherry's club this weekend was they won three different ways. They won in a quadruple overtime shootout without John Brown against Bakersfield. Then they had a come-from-behind 18-3 run to beat Pine Bluff. Finally, today (or yesterday, I'm still confused) they won ugly shooting below 40% and just 12% from three. All three games were close but High Point found a way to grind all three out.
One thing is for sure, the competition will definitely step up when they visit Richmond on Saturday. Keep an eye on how John Brown performs against the likes of Alonzo Nelson-Ododa and Deion Taylor.