Deriece Parks buried a 3-pointer to open the game for the Catamounts (4-8), but Whitehead had six points as High Point went on a 12-0 run and the Panthers never trailed again.
Mike Amius totaled 13 points and eight rebounds to pace Western Carolina. Parks had 12 points and Matt Halvorsen scored 10 for the Catamounts, who shot 32 percent (22 of 68) from the floor, including a dismal 17 percent (5 of 29) from the 3-point line.
High Point also made five 3s, but it did it in 19 fewer shots. The Panthers, who shot 47 percent from the floor, also won the rebound battle 42-36.
Missouri guard Cullen VanLeer is retiring from basketball after tearing his ACL in the Tigers' final regular-season game last season.
For some teams, a win in the NCAA tournament would be a significant achievement. For the elite contenders, anything short of a Final Four run would be a disappointment.
Former NBA All-Star guard Kenny Anderson is taking over as the coach at NAIA program Fisk University.