No. 16 Panthers prep for weekend trip to Defiance

team huddle

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HANOVER, Ind. – The No. 16 Hanover men's basketball team will wrap up conference play prior to the New Year this weekend with a trip to Defiance.

The Panthers and Yellow Jackets are slated for a 3 p.m. tip this Saturday, Dec. 16.          

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THE TEAMS: Hanover is off to another strong start in 2017-18, posting a 6-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in HCAC play. The Panthers have spent the entire season inside the top 20 in the D3hoops.com National Top 25 poll, coming in this week at No. 16. The team has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the preseason poll, and spent an additional stint inside the top five a week ago. The Blue and Red are averaging close to 80 points per game, while the defense is conceding a conference-best 68.9 points per contest.

Defiance is coming off a home victory over HCAC-foe Franklin last Saturday, 76-72, and possess 3-4 overall and 2-1 HCAC marks this season. The Yellow Jackets are 2-1 at home this year, averaging 91.0 points per game inside the Karl H. Weaner Center. Overall, the team is scoring close to 77 points per outing, while giving up 84 points per game.

THE COACHES: The Panthers will have a familiar face on the bench this season, as Jon Miller ('97) is in his 10th season at the helm of his alma mater. Miller recorded his 200th career coaching victory last season and currently holds a 156-92 record at HC. Under Miller, Hanover has won at least 15 games on six separate occasions.

Miller and the Panthers will compete against a well-known coach in Scott Cutter, who is in his third season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets. Cutter came to Defiance after spending six seasons on HC's bench as an assistant coach. Cutter is no stranger to the DC community either, spending time as an assistant for the Yellow Jackets, under Miller, from 2003-07. At the helm, Cutter has guided DC to a 24-34 overall mark.

LAST TIME OUT: Freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) scored a career high 15 points in his first collegiate start and the Panthers posted one of their best defensive efforts of the season in a 59-54 win over Bluffton.

Despite tying a season low in field goal percentage, .377, and setting a 2017-18 low in points, 59, Hanover's strong defensive effort helped secure the team's ninth consecutive home victory. The Blue and Red allowed just 19 first half points, while also conceding just four points to the Beavers over the first nine minutes of play.

Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) and junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) joined Hibbard in double figures with 12 and 14 points respectively.

UP NEXT: The Panthers will wrap up December play with a pair of neutral site contests right before the New Year. Hanover will face Marietta (Ohio) in a D3hoops top 20 showdown Dec. 29, before concluding play at the Wittenberg (Ohio) Kiwanis Holiday Classic on Dec. 30, against Ohio-Chillicothe.  

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu