Panthers close out regular season with Senior Day tilt against Defiance

Levi Buck


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will look to honor its four senior athletes with a win in Saturday's regular season finale against Defiance.

The Panthers (18-6, 13-4 HCAC) and Yellow Jackets (3-21, 2-15) will close out the regular season with a 3 p.m. tip, inside Collier Arena, Feb. 17.


SENIORS HAVE SHINED: Hanover's four seniors, Levi Buck (Pendleton, Ind.), Parker Buse (Lynnville, Ind.), Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) and Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio), have helped lead the Panthers to a 72-35 overall record, .673 winning percentage, over the past four seasons. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, we have also seen HC go 51-20 in HCAC play (.718) and 35-11 at home (.761). As juniors, the Blue and Red finished 26-4 overall, one of the top five records in program history since World War II, win both the HCAC regular season and tournament titles, and make the program's deepest run in the NCAA Division III National Tournament, advancing all the way to the Elite Eight. In their final campaigns at HC, these seniors have guided the squad to an 18-6 overall mark and will have a chance to finish their careers with back-to-back 20-win seasons, a feat that has not been done since the early 2000's.

HCAC TOURNAMENT ON THE HORIZON: Hanover will look to fine tune its play Saturday, as it will be the team's final opportunity for competition prior to next week's HCAC Tournament. The Panthers will most likely need to win three games next week to capture its second straight conference tournament championship, but they have secured, at minimum, a home opening round contest Tuesday, Feb. 20. If the standings hold true after Saturday's slate of games, the semifinal and championship rounds will take place at Mt. St. Joseph next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24.

PANTHERS POST TOP 20 STATISTICAL MARKS: The Panthers are currently ranked inside the top 25 in the country in four statistical categories. With the conference's best scoring defense, 65.2, HC is allowing the 20th fewest points per game in NCAA Division III. Part of the success on defense has been because the unit does not concede fouls, ranking first in the HCAC and seventh in the nation in fewest fouls committed per game, 14.0. Offensively, the Blue and Red are shooting 50 percent from the field, and despite their shooting clip being third in the HCAC, it is still good enough for 12th in the country. A stout defense and efficient shooting all season long has led to a 12.0 average scoring margin, which is 21st in Division III.

FAILS' MILESTONE WEEK CAPPED WITH CONFERENCE AWARD: The week of Feb. 5-11 was quite eventful for junior Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio), who reached the 1,000 career point plateau last Wednesday and tallied a career high 32 points Saturday. For his efforts, where he averaged 26.0 points per game, Fails was named HCAC Player of the Week. The junior scored 20 points in a 77-54 win at Earlham last Wednesday and followed it up with his career best scoring effort during an 86-74 triumph over Manchester Saturday. Fails has won both of Hanover's HCAC Player of the Week awards this season and now has three for his career.

HANOVER NAMED HeroSports TEAM OF THE MONTH: The Panthers posted a 7-2 record during the month of January, which included seven straight victories, to earn one of five nominations for HeroSports' NCAA Division III National Team of the Month award. The Blue and Red received 138 of the 323 total votes, accumulating over 40 percent of the ballots. Hanover outscored its opponents by an average margin of 13 points per game, while jumping up to No. 37 in HeroSports NCAA Division III National BennettRank.

HOME SWEET HANOVER: The Panthers, winners of 14 of their last 16 games inside Collier Arena, have posted a 7-2 mark at home this season. In nine home outings this year, HC has scored 78.4 points per game, which is 1.2 points higher than its season average. In each of its last three victories at home, Hanover has scored 80 points or more.

Contact: Tyler Jester