HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will look to bounce back after a home loss last time out with a trip to Manchester this weekend.
The Panthers (8-4, 3-2 HCAC) and Spartans are slated for a 3 p.m. tip in the HCAC clash Saturday, Jan. 6.
THE TEAMS: Hanover is off to another strong start this season, posting at least eight wins prior to January for the second straight year. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign, HC is 17-4 overall and 7-1 in HCAC contests during the opening two months of the season.
The Blue and Red are currently receiving votes in the national D3hoops.com Top 25 poll, which snaps a nine-week stretch with the team being in the rankings. Hanover has been as high as No. 4, the preseason poll, and spent an additional week inside the top five as well.
Despite coming off a loss, the Panthers should feel confident heading into their road game this weekend, as they have not dropped consecutive games since Jan. 23 and 27 of 2016. During the nearly two-year stretch, HC has also won multiple games in a row following a setback on six occasions, including 12 straight victories after an early January loss last season.
Hanover is averaging 77.0 points per game, while also holding the conference's best scoring defense, conceding 65.8 points per contest. The team is 3-2 in true road games and 6-3 in all outings away from Collier Arena this season.
Manchester (2-10, 0-5 HCAC) enters Saturday still in search of its first HCAC victory off the season and is coming off a 73-67 loss at Franklin earlier in the week. The Spartans have fared well in neutral site contests this season, going 2-1, but are a combined 0-9 in home and road games in 2017-18.
Adrian Johnson leads an offense that is scoring just over 70 points per game by pouring in 19.6 points per outing. Johnson is shooting 48.4 percent from the field. Defensively, the Spartans are in the top half of the HCAC in points allowed, giving up 74.7 points per contest.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ind.) netted 22 points, but HC's second half rally fell short at home to Rose-Hulman, 71-69. Fails scored 18 of his team high point total in the second half as HC erased an 11-point deficit to take a four-point advantage late, 69-65, with 1:29 left to play. The Engineers however, tallied a pair of three-point plays and a key offensive rebound down the stretch to snap the Panthers' nine-game home winning streak.
The junior tied a career best with 10 field goal makes, needing just 18 attempts to get there. Fails tied a season high with five assists, while also recording four rebounds and two steals.
Going 7-of-12 from the field was junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.), who finished with 14 points and a career high nine rebounds. Off the bench, freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) added 10 points and three assists.
UP NEXT: Hanover will return home after the brief road stint to welcome Earlham for a 7:30 p.m. tip next Wednesday, Jan. 10. The Panthers have won 10 straight against the Quakers, including a 66-53 triumph at home last February.
Contact: Tyler Jester