HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The High Point University men's basketball team pulled away late to pick up a 68-58 win over Gardner-Webb in the first round of the Big South Men's Championship on Monday night in the Millis Center. Redshirt-junior Corey Law finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the game while senior Nick Barbour led all scorers with 22 points.
Law shot 6-for-9 from the floor in the game and had several thunderous dunks in the win. The forward also had two blocks and steal on the night. Barbour shot 6-for-12 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the line. Barbour scored eight points in the opening minutes of the game, converting his first three shots including two treys. HPU senior Shay Shine finished the game with 11 points to go along with eight rebounds and a team-high six assists.
Junior Tashan Newsome led Gardner-Webb on the night with 21 points on 10-for-17 shooting and added nine rebounds. He finished as the only Runnin' Bulldog player in double figures as the next highest scorer was Laron Buggs with eight points.
High Point won a game in the Big South Tournament for the second year in a row and improved to 13-17 overall with the victory. Gardner-Webb finished the season with a 12-20 record.
With 3:09 remaining, Gardner-Webb's Newsome drove to the hole and made a layup to narrow the HPU lead to 50-45. HPU junior Branimir Mikulic then took a feed from Shine way beyond the arc and drained it, but Gardner-Webb's Tyler Strange came right back with a trey of his own.
On the next possession, Barbour hit two free throws to extend the lead back to seven points (55-48) with 2:19 remaining in the game. Barbour then came away with a steal and handed the ball off to Law who slammed it home. The Panthers extended their lead to 12 points (60-48) on a three-point play by Barbour with 1:43 remaining.
Newsome and Brown hit back to back trey's for GWU to bring the game back to seven points, 60-53, with 1:03 remaining, however, High Point played out the remainder from the free-throw line to win, 68-58.
High Point went out to a quick 9-4 lead to open the game before Gardner-Webb was able to pull back and take the lead 20-19 with 7:19 remaining in the first. The Panthers responded and went into the break with a four point lead, 26-22. Freshman guard Devante Wallace nearly tipped in a basket at the buzzer in the first half, but it was called back after an official review.
Gardner-Webb battled back early in the second half to tie the game, 26-26, before Shine hit a trey to give the Panthers the lead for good.
High Point will play No. 1-seed UNC Asheville in the Big South Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C.
High Point Head Coach Scott Cherry
"It's tournament time, basically you try to survive and advance. It wasn't the prettiest thing but our kids gutted it out and did the things necessary to win the game. We got tremendous efforts from Barbour and Law. Overall we did a really good job out there tonight and hope to carry the energy into the next one."
Gardner-Webb Head Coach Chris Holtmann
"I have to give the High Point team credit, they have obviously been playing well here in the Millis Center and their ability to spread you out and shoot the ball makes them difficult to guard. There are some things we could have done better and we hope to improve on that next season."