BLUFFTON, Ohio – The Hanover men's basketball team suffered a late setback at Bluffton Saturday afternoon, 63-60.
After building a 14-point advantage at halftime, the Panthers (5-3, 2-1 HCAC) fell victim to a hot shooting second stanza by the Beavers (6-2, 2-1 HCAC), who shot 58.3 percent in the second half en route to a 41-26 edge on the scoreboard.
Leading for the first 39 minutes of play, Hanover found itself trailing for the first time, 57-55, with 51 seconds showing on the clock. The Blue and Red were unable to mount a comeback, as Bluffton netted six-of-eight free throw attempts down the stretch.
One of the misses came with 0.6 seconds showing on the clock, as junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) grabbed the rebound and had his full-court heave hit the front of the rim as time expired. Robertson finished with six points and was one of four players to tie for the team-high in rebounds with four.
Senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied a game- and season-high 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting. The senior added four rebounds and was one of two Panther players with multiple assists.
Junior Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) added 11 points, but was the only other Panther to finish in double figures. Hibbard also added four rebounds and two assists, while posting a team-high four steals defensively.
Hanover got off to a strong start defensively, holding the Beavers to just five points over the first 11 minutes of play. Behind 10 points from Fails, the Blue and Red led 21-5 with 9:09 remaining in the first half.
The Panthers finished the first half with a .519 shooting clip, making 14-of-27 field goal attempts. Defensively, Hanover held the Beavers to just a 36.4 field goal percentage over the opening 20 minutes. As a result, the Blue and Red took a 34-22 lead into the intermission.
Bluffton though, continued to slowly climb back over the entire second half before eventually taking the lead late.
Hanover will return to Collier Arena for its next outing, a 3 p.m. contest against Defiance on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Contact: Tyler Jester