No. 4 Panthers explode for 69 first half points in rout of Golden Eagles

Wes McKinney drives to the basket

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The No. 4 Hanover men's basketball team tallied a 69-point first half en route to a 103-49, season-opening victory over Kent State-Tuscarawas (Ohio) Friday evening.

The Panther (1-0) earned their second straight win to start a season, and have now won five of their last seven season-openers. Hanover also scored over 100 points for the fourth time under head coach Jon Miller, and for the first time in a season opener since Miller arrived in 2008-09.

The Blue and Red never trailed in the opening game of the Thomas More (Ky.) Jim Conner Classic, as they made their first four shots and seven of their first 10 attempts to open up a 17-5 advantage, less than five minutes in.

Hanover continued to grow its lead over the remainder of the opening half, finishing the first 20 minutes of play with a 69-28 lead over the Golden Eagles (2-4). The Panthers logged a .614 shooting clip in the first half, including 10-of-19 makes from behind the arc. The 69-point explosion bested last year's highest total for single half by one point.

Overall, Hanover finished with a .520 field goal percentage, while holding KSU-T to under 33 percent shooting. The Blue and Red also made 16-of-34 attempts from three-point range, marking the team's highest three-point total since the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

The Panthers played all 18 players in the second half, outscoring the Golden Eagles by 13 points to cap off the 103-49 triumph. The 54-point victory is HC's largest since a 118-65 win over Ohio State-Lima on Dec. 20, 2016.

Leading the charge offensively was senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.). The preseason first team All-American posted 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, with four makes coming from long range. McKinney also added four rebounds in just 14 minutes of action.

Junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) made the first start of his career, as he recorded 10 points and a career high eight rebounds. Overall, HC enjoyed a 52-22 edge on the glass.

Hanover received a 56-point production from its bench Friday, with sophomore Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) and freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) leading the way with 11 and 10 points respectively. Hibbard was also one of five Panther players to record at least three assists in the victory. Senior Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.) dished out a team high four helpers, while pitching in with eight points.

The Panthers posted 20 or more assists in five games last year, including a season-high 30 in the 2016-17 opener against Boyce (Ky.). Hanover finished with a 26-7 edge in assists Friday evening. The team also outscored KSU-T in the paint, 40-18.

The Blue and Red will look for their second straight 2-0 start Saturday, when they square off with Otterbein (Ohio) in a 2 p.m., neutral site contest.

Contact: Tyler Jester