HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team scored the final five points Saturday afternoon, inside Collier Arena, outlasting Anderson in HCAC action, 80-77.
Trailing 77-75 in the final minute, junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled on his put back, which tied the game at 77-all. White drained his free throw, giving HC a 78-77 advantage with 36 seconds remaining.
In a game in which both teams shot over 50 percent from the field, Hanover's defense was the story late, getting a pair of stops to shutout the Ravens (10-11, 5-9 HCAC) over the final 51 seconds of play. Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) added a pair of free throws down the stretch to secure the three-point win.
McKinney and White were two of five Panthers (16-5, 11-3 HCAC) to score in double figures, marking the first time since Dec. 30, 2016, the squad had five players with 10-plus points. McKinney led the way with 20 points, including an 8-for-9 performance at the charity stripe. White tallied 14 points and a team high eight rebounds in the win.
Freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) set a new career high with 18 points. The frosh netted 7-of-9 field goal attempts, while adding four rebounds and three assists. Also scoring in double figures were senior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.), as both finished with 12 points. Smith had three of HC's six assists in the contest, while he and Ratts combined for seven rebounds as well.
Anderson took its largest lead of the game, three points, after making its first two shots from behind the arc for a 6-3 advantage. Hanover however, scored the next nine points to lead 12-6.
After the Ravens pulled within one point, the Blue and Red used another 9-0 scoring spurt to push its lead to 10 points, 21-11, with 13:26 to play in the opening half.
Anderson clawed its way back in, just as they would all afternoon, rallying to take a 27-25 lead with 6:16 remaining in the half. The Panthers however, closed the 20-minute session by scoring 11 of the final 13 points, taking a 43-37 advantage into the intermission. Overall, there were four ties and seven lead changes in the first 20 minutes.
Hanover scored the opening four points of the second stanza to push its lead back to double digits and later led 68-57, for its largest advantage of the game, 11 points, with 8:13 to play.
Anderson, once again, fought back into the contest, as an 11-2 run closed the deficit to 70-68 with four minutes remaining.
Ratts gave HC a five-point advantage with a three-pointer at the 3:40 mark, but the Panthers would be held to just two points until the White three-point play. The Ravens took advantage of the cold stretch by HC, as a 9-2 run gave them the 77-75 advantage.
Both sides made 28 field goals in the game, but the Panthers edged the Ravens in field goal percentage, .549 to .519. Hanover and Anderson each shot over 80 percent from the charity stripe as well, combining to go 31-for-38 (.816).
Hanover, who has now secured a spot in the postseason HCAC Tournament, will now turn its attention to a 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 7, date with Earlham. The Panthers and Quakers will conclude their regular season series in Richmond, Ind. at the Druley Performance Gymnasium.
Contact: Tyler Jester