Panthers trek to Terre Haute for first place showdown with Rose-Hulman

Kevin Williams

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will look to extend its longest winning streak of the season when they travel to face Rose-Hulman in a battle between two HCAC first place teams Wednesday evening.

The Panthers (15-4, 10-2 HCAC) and Engineers will conclude their regular season series in Terre Haute Ind., at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 31. The two sides, along with Mt. St. Joseph are all 10-2 in HCAC play to sit atop the league standings with six games left to play.

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THE TEAMS: Hanover enters Wednesday with seven straight victories, as the squad's only loss of the New Year came against Rose-Hulman, by two points, on Jan. 3. During the seven-game winning streak, HC has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 17.3 points per outing, and have won each of their four road contests.  

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 votes in 16 straight polls, also spent an additional week in the top five earlier this season.

The Blue and Red continue to rank among the nation's best in a bevy of statistical categories. Hanover ranks in the top 20 in NCAA Division III in field goal percentage (14th, 49.6%), scoring defense (15th, 64.2 ppg) and scoring margin (17th, +13.4). During the current winning streak, HC is shooting .524 from the field, while holding its opponents to just 61.3 points per game.

Rose-Hulman (12-7, 10-2 HCAC) has also found recent success on the court, winning 11 of its last 12 prior to Wednesday's matchup. Offense has been key in RHIT's hot start in league play, as the team is averaging 74.8 points per game and shooting 52 percent from the field.

The Engineers have four players with double-digit scoring averages and are led by freshman Craig McGee at 13.5 points per game. Overall, RHIT is averaging 74.8 points per game, while conceding just under 72 points per contest.

FAILS NEARING 1,000 CAREER POINTS: Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) is just 27 points away from becoming the 37th Hanover men's basketball player to reach 1,000 for a career. The junior has averaged double-digit point totals in each of his first two-plus seasons with the squad, accumulating 13.9 points over 70 career games played.

Fails' recent scoring outburst has helped him near the career milestone, as he is averaging 21.6 points per game since the calendar turned to January. Over the past five outings, Fails is averaging 23.2 points per contest, while shooting 60 percent from the field and 65.4 percent from long range.

LAST TIME OUT: Trailing by one point with 6.6 seconds remaining, Fails went the length of the floor and capped a career-high tying 29-point effort with a contested game-winning layup as time expired to give HC a 71-70 road win at Bluffton last Saturday. Trailing by 10 points in the second half, a 10-2 run by HC helped give them a lead late, as the final five minutes featured five ties and six lead changes.

Junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) recorded 11 points and five rebounds, while senior Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.) and sophomore Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) each added nine points off the bench.

UP NEXT: Hanover will return home to split up three road outings in four games by welcoming Anderson to Collier Arena this weekend. The Panthers and Ravens will open a men's-women's doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu