RICHMOND, Ind. – Junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) reached the 1,000-point plateau and senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) moved into the top 10 of the program's all-time scoring list, as the Hanover men's basketball team defeated Earlham on road Wednesday evening, 77-54.
Fails drained a jumper early in the first half for his first basket of the game and his 1,000th career point. The junior finished with a team high 20 points, scoring 15 in the second half on 4-of-7 shooting, including a 4-for-6 effort from behind the arc. He also tied for the team high in assists with senior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) with three apiece.
McKinney added 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, as he now has 1,537 points for his career, good enough for ninth in program history. The senior drained all five of his shots from three-point range Wednesday, while also adding five rebounds.
Two other Hanover (17-5, 12-3 HCAC) starters tallied double-digit scoring efforts in junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) and freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.). White made eight of his 10 field goal attempts, scoring 19 points, while also recording a team-best eight rebounds. Hibbard scored in double figures for the third straight game, as he finished with 14 points.
With the win, Hanover moved into a three-way tie for first place in the HCAC standings with Rose-Hulman and Mount St. Joseph. Rose-Hulman dropped its Wednesday road contest at Franklin, while MSJ defeated Transylvania at home, resulting in the cluster at the top of the conference leaderboard.
Even with four players scoring in double figures for the third straight game, Hanover's defense was the key against Earlham (6-16, 4-11 HCAC). The Blue and Red conceded less than 60 points for the ninth time this season and have now won 21 straight games when giving up 59 or fewer points. Leading by four at the intermission, the Panthers allowed just 22 points in the second half, holding the Quakers to 36 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes of play.
A hot shooting second half helped HC pull away from the Quakers, as the Blue and Red made 6-of-10 tries from deep and shot 51.7 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes. Overall, Hanover finished at a .500 shooting clip, making 28-of-56 field goals.
Hibbard gave HC the first lead of the ball game with a three-pointer in the opening minute of play. Hanover would never relinquish the lead for the remainder of the contest. McKinney scored eight straight points during an 8-2 scoring run, giving HC its largest lead of the first half, seven points, at 15-8, just over five minutes in. The Blue and Red led by seven points on four occasions over the opening 20 minutes of play.
Earlham was able to close the gap to one point on numerous occasions, but a three-pointer from McKinney as time expired in the first half gave HC a 36-32 lead heading into the break.
The Panthers opened the second half on a 14-5 run, extending their lead to 50-37 with 13:57 remaining. After the Quakers closed the gap to 10 points on the next possession, a 14-4 scoring spurt, capped by a Fails three-pointer, gave HC a 20-point advantage, 64-44, with 9:38 to play.
Earlham was able to pull within 14 points, 64-50, before HC conceded just four points over the final 8:03, securing the 77-54 victory. Hanover has now won 12 straight against Earlham, tying its longest winning streak all-time versus the Quakers. The Blue and Red also won 12 straight from 1976-82.
The Panthers will look to keep pace atop the HCAC standings when they open up a three-game home stand at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10. Hanover will welcome Manchester for the first half of a basketball doubleheader inside Collier Arena.
Contact: Tyler Jester