HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team closed the first half against Transylvania on a 13-0 run, as the spurt helped lift the Panthers to a 76-70 victory inside an intense Collier Arena on Wednesday evening.
Facing its largest deficit of the night, seven points, at 26-19, the Panthers (5-2, 2-0 HCAC) closed the final 5:31 of the first half on a 13-0 scoring run to capture a 32-26 edge at the intermission. The defense continued to stifle the Pioneers (3-4, 1-1 HCAC) early in the second half, as the Blue and Red held Transy scoreless until the 17:16 mark.
The scoring drought for Transy led to an 18-0 run for the Panthers, giving HC a 37-26 advantage on the scoreboard.
Hanover never trailed in the second half, and the third three-pointer of the session from senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio), at the 13:37 mark, put HC in front 45-30, forcing a TU timeout. Fails made all four of his three-pointers in the second half, a stanza that saw him tally 19 of his game-high 22 points. The senior added three rebounds and went eight-for-nine at the charity stripe.
A four-point play from Fails put the Blue and Red back in front by 15 points, 60-45, with seven minutes showing on the clock. Transylvania though, would not go away, as they had a pair of possessions of their own that resulted in four points.
The Pioneer comeback saw Hanover's lead shrink to seven points, 66-59, with 3:19 remaining. The Blue and Red staved off Transy's late rally though by netting 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch, with sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) going seven-for-eight late.
Hibbard, who was 9-of-11 from the line for the game, finished with 14 points. The sophomore added three rebounds and two steals as well.
Junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) also poured in a season-high 14 points, doing most of his damage from deep, where he made four-of-six tries. Robertson pitched in with five rebounds, two steals and tied for the team-high in assists with three. Classmate Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) added three helpers off the bench.
Pacing the Panthers in rebounding with seven was junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.), who added seven points as well. Classmate Ryan Cloncs (Danville, Ind.) pitched in with eight points and four rebounds off the bench.
The quartet of Hibbard, Robertson and Cloncs were key down the stretch, making big shots to keep the Panther lead in double figures. The four players were also the main contributors at the foul line late.
Overall, Hanover held a slight advantage in field goal percentage, shooting .476 (20-42), while holding Transy to a .409 (27-66) clip. The Panthers also doubled-up the Pioneers at the line, going 26-33 (.788). To go along with the edge at the foul line, HC made seven more three-point attempts as well.
The Panthers will look to stay unbeaten in conference play when they travel to Bluffton for a 3 p.m. contest this Saturday, Dec. 8.
Contact: Tyler Jester