Men's basketball season tips off at Jim Connor Classic

Logan Ratts dribbles up the floor


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will open the 2017-18 season this weekend with a pair of neutral sites games against Kent State-Tuscarawas (Ohio) and Otterbein (Ohio) in the Thomas More (Ky.) Jim Conner Classic.

COVERAGE: Friday Live Stats | Friday Video | Saturday Live Stats | Saturday Video

THE TEAMS: Hanover will look to build off its deepest run in program history in the NCAA National Tournament last year. The Panthers finished 26-4 overall, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, while also sweeping the HCAC regular season and tournament championships.

Kent State-Tuscarawas will enter this weekend with a 2-3 overall record. The last time HC faced an opponent from an Ohio Regional campus was against Ohio State-Lima last December, where they won 118-65.

Otterbein is currently 0-1 this season and will face the host of the tournament Friday, Thomas More, before facing Hanover Saturday. The Cardinals are coming off a 7-18 overall and 3-15 Ohio Athletic Conference season in 2016-17.

THE COACHES: The Panthers will have a familiar face on the bench this season as Jon Miller ('97) returns for his 10th year at the helm of his alma mater. Miller recorded his 200th career coaching victory last season and currently holds a 150-91 record at HC.

Richard Tharp is the head coach for the men's basketball team at Kent State-Tuscarawas and has more than 37 years of basketball coaching experience. Tharp has spent most of his time in the East Canton (Ohio) and Canton South (Ohio) school systems, but has also coached at the AAU level with Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas County.

Brian Oilar is in his third year at the helm for the Otterbein Cardinals, where he has an 11-40 overall record. Oilar trekked to Otterbein after spending time as an assistant at his alma mater, DePauw, from 2009-2015.

LAST TIME OUT: The last time Hanover competed in an official contest was in the NCAA Division III Tournament Elite Eight, where they fell to eventual national runner-up, Augustana (Ill.), 77-64. The Panthers did however debut their 2017-18 roster in an exhibition against NCAA Division I opponent, Butler, earlier this fall.

UP NEXT: The Blue and Red will stay on the road for two more games during the Holiday week. Hanover will travel to face Spalding (Ky.) at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 21, before heading to Wooster (Ohio) at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25.

Contact: Tyler Jester