HANOVER, Ind. – Looking to keep pace at the top of the HCAC standings will be the Hanover men's basketball team, as they put their five-game winning streak on the line when they welcome Transylvania Wednesday evening.
The Panthers (13-4, 8-2 HCAC) and Pioneers are set to meet for the second time this season at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 24, inside Collier Arena.
THE TEAMS: Since dropping a two-point decision to Rose-Hulman back on Jan. 3, Hanover has won five straight, with three of the victories coming on the road. The Blue and Red's current wave of success on the court has them tied for the best overall record with Transylvania and just one game back from Mt. St. Joseph for first place in the HCAC standings.
The Panthers, who are currently receiving votes in the D3hoops.com National Top 25 poll, have been ranked as high as No. 4 this year, which came in the preseason edition. The team, which as of Monday has at least received national votes for 15 straight polls, also spent additional week in the top five earlier this season.
Hanover is starting to find a rhythm both offensively and defensively, as they rank inside the top 20 in the country in multiple statistical categories. With five straight shooting efforts over 50 percent, HC is now 18th in the NCAA in season field goal percentage, .497. Defensively, the Blue and Red have allowed fewer than 50 points on three occasions this season and their scoring average of 64.0 is the 17th best in the nation.
Transylvania (13-4, 8-2 HCAC) has won each of its last three outings and their lone loss in January came to Mt. St. Joseph, 73-64. Transy is also 5-1 in true road games this season, including a perfect 4-0 mark in conference contests.
The Pioneers have relied on a robust offensive effort this season, averaging a conference best 85.2 points per game. Transy's .509 field goal percentage is also the HCAC's top mark, while being among the top 10 in NCAA Division III as well. A balanced offensive attack, which features five players averaging double figures, is led by Kyle Gullett at 14.8 points per game.
THE SERIES: Despite trailing in the overall series 34-32, Hanover has won seven of the last 10 meetings, with four of those wins coming inside Collier Arena. A loss in the last hookup, at Transy, snapped a three-game winning streak for the Panthers. The last three meetings in Hanover have all been tight, with the last two each being decided two points and the one prior going to overtime.
LAST TIME OUT: The Panthers used a 17-4 run to close out the first half and never trailed over the final 20 minutes of a 74-65 win against Franklin last Saturday. Hanover's win earned the team a regular season sweep of the Grizzlies for the second straight year.
Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) poured in a season high 25 points en route to being named HCAC Player of the Week. Fails averaged 20.5 points per contest last week, as HC also defeated MSJ 64-41 on the road last Wednesday. The junior made 8-of-14 shots versus Franklin, including 4-of-5 tries from long range.
Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) and junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) combined for 27 points and eight rebounds in the win. The duo also accumulated an 11-for-13 effort at the charity stripe.
UP NEXT: Hanover will head back out on the road to close out the week at Bluffton. The Panthers and Beavers will conclude their regular season series with a 3 p.m. start, Saturday, Jan. 27.
Contact: Tyler Jester