HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will look to stay atop the HCAC standings when they open a three-game home stand against Manchester this weekend.
The Panthers (17-5, 12-3 HCAC) will welcome the Spartans for a 3 p.m. tip, Saturday, Feb. 10, opening a men's-women's doubleheader inside Collier Arena.
THE TEAMS: Hanover won seven-of-nine games in January, earning them a nomination for the HeroSports Division III National Team of the Month. The Panthers have won 10 of their last 12 overall, improving them to 17-5 overall and 12-3 in HCAC play, and after Wednesday's results, HC is in a three-way tie for first place in the league standings with Rose-Hulman and Mt. St. Joseph.
The Blue and Red continue to rank among the nation's best in multiple statistical categories, including scoring defense. The Panthers have held nine opponents to under 60 points this year and are allowing 64.5 points per game, which is first in the HCAC and 16th nationally. Other top 25 statistical categories for Hanover includes field goal percentage (.495), three-point percentage (.396), scoring margin (+12.7) and personal fouls committed per game (14.1).
Prior to Monday's poll coming out, the Blue and Red had at least received votes in the D3hoops.com National Top 25 poll for 16 straight weeks, including nine straight editions inside the top 25. Hanover spent two weeks earlier this season in the top five of the poll as well.
Despite a 5-17 overall record and 3-12 mark in HCAC play, the Spartans have won three of their last six outings, with two victories coming on the road. Manchester however, has dropped their last two games to Transylvania (85-84) and Anderson (93-77) and are just 2-8 in true road games this season.
A trio of Spartans are averaging double digits in the scoring column this year, as Adrian Johnson leads the way at 18.5 points per game. Johnson also leads Manchester in assists per game, 4.4. Overall, MU is scoring just over 73 points per game, while allowing 76.5 points to its opponents per contest.
THE SERIES: Hanover has won six consecutive meetings and 10 of the last 11 against Manchester to lead the all-time series, 97-51. The Panthers have also posted a perfect 12-0 record inside Collier Arena since 2006. In the first meeting this season, HC had four players score in double figures en route to a 77-69 road win.
LAST TIME OUT: Wednesday's 77-54 triumph at Earlham had plenty of highlights, including a pair of scoring milestones from junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) and senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.). Fails posted a team high 20 points as he became the 37th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club, and McKinney's 19-point effort was good enough to move him inside the top 10 all-time at HC with 1,537 career points.
Junior Nick White (New Albany, Ind.) and freshman Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) added 19 and 14 points, respectively, as HC's four leading scorers combined for 72 of the team's 77 points (93.5%). White also tied senior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) for the team high in rebounds with eight apiece, while also tying a career best defensively with three rejections.
UP NEXT: Hanover will open the final week of the regular season with a home contest against Mt. St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14. The Panthers and Lions' last meeting inside Collier Arena came during the 2016-17 HCAC Tournament Championship, where HC prevailed, 58-51.
Contact: Tyler Jester