Bucs battle but fall to High Point, 72-69, in overtime

Bucs battle but fall to High Point, 72-69, in overtime

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point's Andre Fox hit two free throws to tie the game with 36 seconds left in regulation, and added eight more in overtime, to help the Panthers edge Charleston Southern, 72-69, on Thursday at the Millis Center.

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Fox's clutch free throws, part of a game-high 22-point performance, drove High Point (11-10, 5-4 Big South) to its fourth straight win despite another stellar CSU (7-13, 3-6 Big South) defensive showing. The Bucs forced 16 turnovers and limited the Panthers to 38 percent shooting, marking the fourth time in five games they have held the opponent below the 40 percent plateau.

Cortez Mitchell tallied a career-high 21 points, including CSU's final four points of regulation. Mitchell slashed to the basket on consecutive possessions, with the latter score giving the Bucs a 61-59 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Fox was fouled on High Point's ensuing trip, though, and buried a pair of free throws to knot the score at 61 apiece. Mitchell then misfired on a three-point try in front of the buzzer, prompting the extra session.

Miles Bowman, Jr.'s layup and four more Fox free throws staked High Point to a 67-61 lead in overtime. CSU rallied back to within two points three times, and within a point on one occasion, but Fox was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe and Jamal Wright added a free throw of his own to help the Panthers prevail. Following Fox's last two conversions, Armel Potter's three fell off the mark at the final horn.

Mitchell nearly propelled CSU to its third consecutive victory, as the junior added six rebounds, three steals and two assists in an action-packed 28 minutes. Potter chipped in 13 points and Raemond Robinson 10. Bowman, Jr. finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for High Point, marking his third straight double-double and tenth of the year. Wright contributed 14 points and Tarique Thompson also notched a double-double with 10 points and ten rebounds.

High Point used a 14-3 run to forge a 55-51 advantage on Wright's pull-up jumper at the 3:51 mark. CSU quickly took the momentum back thanks to Robinson's four-point play. Robinson drained a trey from the corner and was fouled in the process before sinking the free throw to tie the game. The back and forth final minutes were emblematic of a methodically played game in which neither team led by more than seven. There were eight ties and 13 lead changes.

CSU got off to another quick start, building leads of 6-0 and 11-5 in the first half. High Point rattled off seven points in a row to move in front for the first time, 12-11, on two Bowman, Jr. free throws with 12:51 left. The Bucs responded with six consecutive markers of their own, only to see the Panthers answer with an 11-0 run. Fox finished an acrobatic shot in transition as part of a three-point play to cap the flurry, giving High Point a 23-17 lead.

Potter lifted CSU back in front by intermission. The sophomore point guard highlighted a run of six straight points with a three that put the Bucs on top, 29-25.

CSU returns home Saturday to play Gardner-Webb. The Runnin' Bulldogs turned back a big CSU rally in a 79-75 win in Boiling Springs on Jan. 7. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. 

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