HANOVER, Ind. – After recently being ranked among the top five in the country in the D3hoops.com National Top 25 Poll, the No. 5 Hanover men's basketball team will look to continue upon a strong start to the season with a pair of HCAC contests.
The Panthers (5-1, 1-0 HCAC) will travel to face Transylvania (4-0, 1-0 HCAC) at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6, before welcoming Bluffton (1-4, 0-1 HCAC) for Community Day inside Collier Arena at 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6.
THE TEAMS: Hanover is off to a 5-1 start for the second consecutive season and with a win over nationally-ranked Ohio Wesleyan last week, the Blue and Red have vaulted up to No. 5 in the Week Two edition of the D3hoops national poll. Hanover's ranking is its third highest all-time, with the second-best position coming in this year's preseason poll, at No. 4. The Panthers are looking to return to the NCAA National Tournament this season, just as they did in 2016-17, where they advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
Transylvania is also off to a strong start in 2017-18, posting a 4-0 record a little less than one month in. The key to the Pioneers' success this season has been the offense. Transy is averaging a gaudy 95.3 points per game, while shooting a nation-best 60.0 percent from the field. The Pioneers also lead the HCAC and are second in NCAA Division III in assists per game, 22.8.
THE COACHES: The Panthers will have a familiar face on the bench this season, as Jon Miller ('97) returns for his 10th season at the helm of his alma mater. Miller recorded his 200th career coaching victory last season and currently holds a 155-91 record at HC.
Brian Lane is in his 17th season as the head coach of the Pioneers, as he returned to his alma mater in 2001, following a 10-year stint as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level. Lane has won HCAC Coach of the Year honors on four separate occasions, and has taken Transylvania as far as the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, which came in 2005.
LAST TIME OUT: Hanover is coming off a 75-68 victory at Franklin in both sides conference opener. The Panthers, who trailed for much of the first half, used a 10-0 run near the midway point of the second stanza to capture a comfortable margin at 61-51. Franklin however, rallied to pull within three points in the closing minutes, but HC made all six of its free throw attempts late to secure the win.
Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, making 8-of-14 field goal attempts for the contest. McKinney also paced the Panthers with eight rebounds, as he added two blocks defensively as well.
Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) was a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe, while making all four of his tries in the final minute, as he finished with 16 points. Classmate Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) added 11 points and tied a career high in blocks with three.
UP NEXT: After a brief two-game stint away from home, Hanover will return to Collier Arena this Saturday to host Bluffton on Community Day. The Panthers defeated the Beavers 77-66 and 65-64 last season, and also won the Community Day contest against Anderson, 88-86.
Contact: Tyler Jester