Big South Announces 2013-14 Men's Basketball Award Winners

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) – High Point redshirt-sophomore forward John Brown and Panthers’ head coach Scott Cherry have been voted the 2013-14 Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced Monday by the Conference office.  The panel voted UNC Asheville guard Andrew Rowsey Freshman of the Year and VMI senior forward D.J. Covington as the League’s Defensive Player of the Year.  Gardner-Webb senior center Mike Byron was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the League’s Sports Information Directors.

Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) is the first sophomore to be voted the Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Year since Coastal Carolina’s Jack Leasure in 2005-06, and is the first High Point player to win the top honor since Arizona Reid in 2007-08.  Brown finished the regular-season tied for third in scoring with 19.6 points per game while ranking sixth with 7.9 boards.  A three-time Big South Player of the Week honoree, Brown led the Big South with nine games scoring at least 25 points and finished with 13 20-point efforts to tie for second-most in the Conference.  He also recorded seven double-doubles -- three of which were 20-point, 10-rebound performances.  Brown also ranked first in the League in offensive rebounds (3.38), third in field goal percentage (54.5), third in blocked shots (1.66) and seventh in steals (1.55).  In Big South games, Brown was second in scoring with 20.8 points and sixth with 8.0 rebounds.  He also tied for second in field goal shooting (55.7) and was fifth in steals (1.56), while blocking 1.63 shots and grabbing 3.13 offensive caroms.  The Big South’s Preseason Player of the Year, Brown became the first player in Big South history to reach 1,000 career points before the end of his sophomore season.

Brown received 22 first-place votes and 410 total points from the panel, ahead of VMI’s D.J. Covington (four first-place votes and 339 points).

Cherry earns his first Big South Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year honor after leading the Panthers to the outright Big South regular-season Championship and second consecutive North Division title with a 12-4 Conference record.  HPU is the first team in Big South history to win the regular-season crown after starting the League season 0-2.  The Panthers won 12 of their final 14 Conference games -- including the last six to claim the best Conference record and the Big South’s automatic bid to the NIT.  Cherry directed the Panthers to a 7-3 record against North Division foes and 5-1 mark against South Division teams, as High Point was tops in Big South games in five statistical categories -- field goal percentage (49.1), three-point percentage (44.9), assists (16.25), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60) and three-point field goal defense (33.5) in League competition.  High Point went 10-4 in Big South games decided by nine points or less, with the four losses averaging 4.5 points.  Cherry’s squad also bounced back from a 3-9 start to the season -- including a seven-game losing streak -- to finish with a winning record.  The first High Point coach to be voted Coach of the Year, Cherry received 12 first-place votes and 51 total points, ahead of VMI’s Duggar Baucom (six first-place votes and 34 points) and Coastal Carolina’s Cliff Ellis (three first-place votes and 26 points).

Rowsey (Lexington, Va.) concluded the regular-season as the Big South’s leading scorer with 19.9 points per game and is looking to become the first freshman to lead the Conference in scoring following this week’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com Basketball Championships.  He paced the League with a school-record five 30-point games -- including a Big South-freshman record 41 points at Radford on Feb. 13 to set a Dedmon Center record, and in the process became the League’s first frosh to score 40 points in a game.  Rowsey finished as the leading scorer in Big South contests at 23.0 points and shot 45.0 percent from the field against League foes to rank 10th.  He was also first with 3.44 three-pointers per game, fourth in free throw percentage (84.0) and tied for fifth in steals (1.56) during the Conference season.  Overall, Rowsey leads the Big South with 3.23 three-point field goals per game and is tied for third with 12 20-point games.  A five-time Big South Freshman of the Week honoree, Rowsey set Asheville’s single-season three-point record with 97.  The third UNC Asheville player to be voted Big South Rookie/Freshman of the Year, Rowsey received 15 first-place votes and 121 total points, ahead of VMI’s QJ Peterson (eight first-place votes and 108 points).

Covington (Virginia Beach, Va.) is just the third back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year winner in League history.  He averaged 3.14 blocked shots during the regular-season as he recorded 91 blocks in 29 games this season.  Covington had at least five blocks in a Big South game six times, and finished the League season with 54 rejections and 3.38 per game.  He ranked first with 7.88 defensive rebounds and 10.9 total boards against Big South members, and averaged 9.3 rebounds and 6.59 defensive caroms for the entire season.  Covington, who averaged 3.0 blocks against three ACC teams in 2013-14, received nine first-place votes and 32 total points, just ahead of UNC Asheville’s D.J. Cunningham (eight first place votes and 30 total points).

Byron (San Antonio, Texas) is a 3.83 double major in biology and chemistry.  He appeared in 31 contests, including 30 starts this season, and leads the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 32 blocked shots while averaging 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 points.  Byron ranks 11th in the Big South with 1.03 blocks per game, and averaged 1.31 in League contests.  Byron started more games in 2013-14 than in any of his three previous seasons and helped GWU to the best two-year stretch in terms of overall wins (38) in its Division I history.  Byron is also the first Gardner-Webb player on the Big South’s 100 career blocked shots list, as he is 28th all-time in League history with 110.

Joining Brown on the All-Conference First-Team are Covington, Rowsey, Radford’s Javonte Green and VMI’s Rodney Glasgow.  Rowsey is the second consecutive freshman to be named First-Team All-Conference (Brown) and just the third in Big South history, joining Brown and Coastal Carolina’s Tony Dunkin in 1989-90.  The entire 2013-14 All-Conference team is as follows:

2013-14 MEN’S BASKETBALL ALL-CONFERENCE

First-Team All-Conference
John Brown, F, R-Soph., High Point
D.J. Covington, C, Sr., VMI
Javonte Green, F, Jr., Radford
Rodney Glasgow, G, Sr., VMI
Andrew Rowsey, G, Fr., UNC Asheville

Second-Team All-Conference
Warren Gillis, F, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Jerome Hill, F, Soph., Gardner-Webb
QJ Peterson, G, Fr., VMI
Jaron Lane, F, R-Sr., UNC Asheville
D.J. Cunningham, C, R-Sr., UNC Asheville

Honorable Mention All-Conference
Elijah Wilson, G, Fr., Coastal Carolina
Tristan Carey, G, Sr., Longwood
Jordan Downing, G, R-Jr., Presbyterian College
Devante Wallace, G, Jr., High Point
Keon Moore, G/F, R-Jr., Winthrop

All-Freshman Team
Andrew Rowsey, G, UNC Asheville
QJ Peterson, G, VMI
Elijah Wilson, G, Coastal Carolina
Keon Johnson, G, Winthrop
Tyrell Nelson, F, Gardner-Webb

All-Academic Team
Paul Gombwer, F, Jr., Charleston Southern
Michel Enanga, F, Soph,, Coastal Carolina
Mike Byron, C, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Haiishen McIntyre, G, Soph., High Point
John Caleb Sanders, G, Sr., Liberty
Jeylani Dublin, F, R-Jr., Longwood
Kyle Noreen, G/F, Jr., Radford
James Bourne, F, Jr., Winthrop

Player of the Year
John Brown, F, R-Soph., High Point

Freshman of the Year
Andrew Rowsey, G, UNC Asheville

Defensive Player of the Year
D.J. Covington, C, Sr., VMI

Coach of the Year
Scott Cherry, High Point

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Mike Byron, C, Sr., Gardner-Webb