WOOSTER, Ohio – Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) poured in a season high 26 points, but the No. 4 Hanover men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the 2017-18 season, at Wooster (Ohio), 87-79.
McKinney helped lead a late second half rally, making five of his six three-point attempts over the final 20 minutes of play. Hanover (3-1) never led, but made five of their final eight shots from behind the arc, over the final 6:04 of play, to keep within striking distance.
Wooster made 21-of-26 attempts from the charity stripe, including a 20-for-25 performance in the second half to secure its third home victory of the season. The Fighting Scots (3-1), who spent most of last season inside the top 25 of the national rankings, were receiving votes in the D3hoops preseason poll this fall.
McKinney needed a career-high 23 field goal attempts to finish with 26 points, but also tied for the team-high in rebounds with seven. Sophomore Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) also tallied seven boards, which set a new career high for him. Ratts added 11 points and three assists as well.
Overall, four Panthers recorded three helpers in the contest, including Ratts, junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) and seniors Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.) and Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio). Fails also pitched in with 13 points offensively.
Junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) continued his strong start to the season with 15 points and four rebounds. White has now scored in double figures in every game this season.
Hanover finished with a .377 shooting clip, marking just the third time since the beginning of the 2016-17 season they have finished under 40 percent from the field. The Fighting Scots, on the other hand, enjoyed a .547 field goal percentage Saturday. Wooster also made 5-of-7 three pointers in the second half to help pull away from multiple HC threats.
After conceding nine of the first 11 points, Hanover found itself in catch-up mode for the remainder of the opening half. Hanover used an 8-2 half-ending scoring spurt to cut its deficit to seven points, 36-29.
The Panthers received a layup from Fails and a three-pointer from McKinney to start the second half, pulling within two points at 36-34. The McKinney three gave HC a 13-2 run spanning the two halves.
Slowly, Wooster pushed its lead back to double figures, as they led by 17 points with 10:26 left to play. Hanover however, used an 8-0 run, capped by a floater from freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.), to pull within single digits, 61-52, forcing a Scot timeout.
Again, the Fighting Scots regrouped and pushed the advantage to 10-plus points, as a three-pointer answered a pair of McKinney free throws, making it 78-64 with less than three minutes remaining.
Back-to-back three-pointers from McKinney and White closed the deficit to 78-70, with just over 1:30 left to play, but HC would only be able to pull within seven points down the stretch, ultimately falling, 87-79. White's three-point make was just the second of his collegiate career.
Hanover will look to bounce back next Wednesday, Nov. 29, when they welcome Ohio Wesleyan, who is also receiving votes in the preseason national poll. The Panthers and Battling Bishops are set for a 7:30 p.m. tip in what will be HC's home opener to the 2017-18 season.
Contact: Tyler Jester