ANDERSON, Ind. – In a battle between the HCAC's top offensive and defensive scoring squads, it was the Hanover men's basketball team that prevailed on the road Saturday afternoon, 81-74.
The Panthers (11-4, 6-2 HCAC), who never trailed Saturday, were able to hold the Ravens' (9-6, 4-4 HCAC) high-potent offense to 12 points under their season scoring average.
Four Hanover players scored in double figures in the win, as the team was led by senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.). McKinney drained five three-pointers and went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, as he posted a season high 28 points. Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) added 23 points, giving HC a pair of 20-point scorers for just the second time this season. Fails also tied for the team high in assists with four and added three steals defensively.
Posting 12 and 10 points respectively were junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) and senior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio). White led the squad with eight rebounds, while Smith stuffed the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists and a team high four steals.
Hanover's four leading scorers combined to go 24-of-37 from the field, a .649 field goal percentage.
Overall, HC finished with a .563 shooting clip, making 27-of-48 attempts. Anderson was able to shrug off a cold stretch from the field in the middle of the second half to finish shooting 57.1 percent from the floor. Both sides also shot over 40 percent from long range, as HC finished 8-for-18 (.444).
The Panthers made seven of their first eight field goal tries to jump out to an early 15-3 advantage on the scoreboard just over six minutes into play. Anderson however, slowly crept back in, closing its deficit to one point, 21-20, with 7:01 left before halftime.
Hanover would respond with a quick 7-0 scoring spurt to push its lead back out to eight points, 28-20. Again, the Ravens would answer, as HC only led by three points at the break, 33-30. The Blue and Red finished with a 58.3 percent shooting effort in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Anderson tied the contest on a handful of occasions early in the second half, but a Fails jumper capped an 8-2 run by HC, giving them a 51-43 lead with 12:21 remaining.
After AU scored the next four points to close the HC lead to four, McKinney rattled off 12 straight points for the Panthers, capped off with a four-point play as the shot clock expired. The senior's offensive explosion gave the Blue and Red a 10-point edge, 63-53, with 6:27 left to play.
Hanover would push its lead out to as many as 15 points in the second half, as sophomore Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) went 1-of-2 at the foul line to give the team a 70-55 lead with less than four minutes remaining. Anderson was able to pull within five points on a few occasions, but McKinney and Fails combined to make HC's final six free throw attempts to secure the win.
The Panthers have now tied their season-long winning streak at three games, and have also won three straight meetings against the Ravens.
Hanover will look to continue its winning ways with a trip to Mt. St. Joseph next Wednesday, Jan. 17. The Panthers and Lions will tip off a 7:30 p.m. in their first meeting since last season's HCAC Tournament championship, which HC won, 58-51.
Contact: Tyler Jester