Second half scoring struggles send Marietta past Hanover in Top 20 showdown

Wes McKinney shooting three pointer

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Despite its third straight stout defensive effort, the No. 16 Hanover men's basketball team was unable to get its offense clicking Friday afternoon, falling to No. 19 Marietta in the opening game of the Wittenberg (Ohio) Kiwanis Classic, 63-53.

The Panthers (7-3) held their third straight opponent to under 70 points and have accomplished the feat in four of their last five outings. Marietta (8-2), who came in averaging 86.9 points per game, was held to under 70 points for just the third time since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) led Hanover with 15 points and 14 rebounds, posting his first double-double of the season. McKinney's 14 rebounds tied a career high, which he has now accomplished on three separate occasions. Classmate Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.) made 4-of-7 attempts for nine points.

Off the bench, sophomore Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) netted 4-of-6 tries, while going 2-for-3 at the foul line for 10 points. Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) recorded three steals for the second straight game, giving him four contests this year with at least three swipes. Fails also added eight points and a team high four assists.

In a back-and-forth first half, which saw seven ties and seven lead changes, Hanover took its largest advantage on the scoreboard at 19-17, with 8:22 left before the intermission. Each side tallied an extended scoring run prior to halftime, but it was HC's 9-2 scoring spurt to close the half that gave them a 32-31 edge.

The second half appeared to be on its way to being identical to the first 20 minutes, as each side traded baskets over the opening minutes of play. Hanover however, held its last lead of the game, 44-43, with 14:20 left to play.

The Blue and Red were held scoreless for the next seven minutes as Marietta would go on a 9-2 scoring run to push its lead to 52-46 with 7:02 remaining. The Pioneer lead grew to as many as 11 points down the stretch, as they snapped HC's two-game winning streak against nationally ranked opponents.

Offensively, Hanover was held to season lows in points (53) and field goal percentage (.360). Neither side was able to find much of a rhythm offensively, especially from deep, where the two sides combined to post a .206 shooting clip.

The Panthers will look to rebound when they conclude tournament play Saturday, Dec. 30, with a 2:15 p.m. tip against Ohio-Chillicothe.

Contact: Tyler Jester