CINCINNATI – Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) broke the program's all-time mark for career three-point makes, as he and the rest of the Hanover men's basketball team put on a shooting clinic during a 64-41 victory at Mt. St. Joseph Wednesday evening.
McKinney entered the game needing just three makes from long range to tie the school record, as he made 5-of-6 attempts from deep, giving him 218 for his career. He broke a record that was shared by Thad McCracken (2000-04) and Derrick Clevenger (1999-03). The senior made 6-of-7 shots from the field Wednesday, finishing with a team high 17 points.
Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half, as he also tallied five rebounds and two steals. The multiple swipes gives Fails eight straight outings with at least two steals. Classmate Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) added all 12 of his points in the first half, going 6-for-7 from the field.
Logging a perfect 4-for-4 effort was senior Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.), as two of his attempts were from three-point range. Buck tied a season high with 10 points.
Overall, Hanover (12-4, 7-2 HCAC) finished with a .619 field goal percentage (26-42), marking the first time in over 10 seasons the team shot 60 percent or better for an entire game. The Panthers also netted 9-of-14 tries from distance, a .643 shooting clip.
After making just two of its first five field goal attempts, the Blue and Red proceeded to make their next eight tries, which highlighted a 21-10 scoring run. The spurt gave HC a 25-13 lead over the HCAC-leading Lions (11-5, 8-1 HCAC), with 9:05 remaining before halftime.
The Panther lead was cut to single digits twice over the final 9:05 of the opening half, but HC pushed its advantage out to 14 points, 39-25, before heading into the locker room. The Blue and Red made 16-of-22 field goals in the first 20 minutes, a .727 percentage.
With just three points and one field goal attempt in the first half, McKinney came out shooting after the break, making his first four shots to tally HC's first 11 second half points. McKinney's solo scoring spurt, which included three makes from behind the arc, gave the Panthers a 50-31 edge with 15:17 left to play.
Hanover and MSJ would play a scoreless stalemate over the next five-and-a-half minutes, with the Panthers still leading 50-31. The HCAC's top two defensive scoring units buckled down, as the two sides combined to miss 11 straight shots before a Fails layup at 9:23 ended the drought.
The Panthers' lead never shrunk to lower than 15 points down the stretch. The final basket of the game by sophomore Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.), with 1:07 left to play, gave HC its largest lead of the game, 23 points, at 64-41.
To go along with a strong effort on the offensive end, Hanover recorded a stout defensive performance, conceding a season-low 41 points. The Blue and Red have now allowed less than 50 points on three separate occasions this season. The Lions were also held to a .304 shooting clip Wednesday night.
Hanover enjoyed a 28-20 advantage on the glass, as senior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) grabbed a team high eight rebounds. The eight boards also tied a season high for Smith.
The Panthers have now won three straight over MSJ, with the previous two victories securing the 2016-17 HCAC regular season and tournament championships. During the three-game stretch, HC is allowing just 52.0 points per game.
Hanover will look to improve upon its season-long winning streak, four games, when the team welcomes Franklin for a 2 p.m. tip Saturday, Jan. 20.
Contact: Tyler Jester