Second half rally sends Hanover to 71-68 win over Otterbein

Nick White shooting a free throw

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. - Down by 12 points at halftime, the No. 4 Hanover men's basketball team out-scored Otterbein (Ohio) 42-27 in the second half to rally and win 71-68 on day two of the Jim Connor Classic hosted by Thomas More (Ky.) Saturday afternoon.

Things looked good early for the Panthers as four different players combined to score the game's first 10 points in the opening five minutes of the contest. 

The Cardinals (0-2) answered with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 14-11, and would then score eight straight points to take a 19-14 lead near the midway point of the first half. 

A three-pointer by senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) and a jumper by junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) tied the score at 19, but Otterbein responded with a three-pointer and a lay-up to go back in front 24-19.

McKinney added a lay-up at the 5:20 mark to tie the game again, this time at 28 all, only to see the Cardinals finish the half on a 13-1 run to take a 41-29 lead into the locker room at the half. 

Otterbein shot a blistering 63.0% (17-27) from the field in the opening half, including 7 of 11 from beyond the three-point arc, while Hanover made only 12 of their first 35 shots (34.3%) and only two three-pointers.

The second half began much like the first ended as the Cardinals hit five of their first seven shots, with three of those from long range, to extend the lead to 54-39 with 15:42 to play.  

Down 15 points, the Panthers began to chip away. Another McKinney three-pointer started a 9-0 run that cut the deficit to 54-48, but a pair of Otterbein three-pointers pushed the lead back to 60-48 with 8:30 remaining. 

Hanover (2-0) would take complete control over the next 7:08 with 18 unanswered points. McKinney scored eight, White six, and junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) had four points during the run, including a free throw to give the Panthers its first lead since the first half. The Cardinals, meanwhile, missed all seven shot attempts and had three turnovers to suddenly find themselves down 66-60 with only 1:22 to play. 

Otterbein sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a couple of Fails' free throws to pull within two at 68-66, but Fails would make three of his final four free throw attempts, and the Cardinals would miss a game-tying three-pointer with three seconds to go to fall 71-68.

It was Hanover who shot the lights out in the second half. The Blue and Red made 15 of their 23 attempts from the floor (65.2%) to finish the game at 46.6% (27-58). Otterbein shot 40.0% (10-25) in the second half and ended the game 27 of 52 (51.9%). The Panthers out-rebounded the Cardinals 35-26 and also had a 36-18 advantage in points in the paint. 

McKinney, White and Fails finished in double figures for the winning team. McKinney posted his second 20+ point effort in as many games with 23 points and seven rebounds. White had a career day as he doubled his previous career-high of 10 points with 20 points on 10 of 15 shooting. He also grabbed a career-best nine rebounds, including five offensive boards, and blocked two shots, while Fails added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench. 

Hanover will continue its start to the season with a game Tuesday, Nov. 21 against Spalding (Ky.). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Louisville, Ky.

Contact: Mike Pritchard