HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team won its fourth straight game Wednesday evening, defeating Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference-rival Mount St. Joseph at home, 73-52.
In the seventh meeting between the two sides in the past three seasons, Hanover never trailed, thanks to a strong start that was aided by an electric crowd inside Collier Arena. The Panthers (12-4, 7-2 HCAC) scored the game's opening five points to force the first of four timeouts by the Lions (6-10, 4-5 HCAC) in the opening half.
A three pointer from senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio) put the Blue and Red up by double-digits for the first time, 12-2, at the 14:21 mark. Hanover's lead continued to grow in the first half, ballooning to as many as 21 points on numerous occasions.
Thanks to a 60 percent shooting clip, the Panthers led MSJ 40-21 at the intermission. To go along with its hot shooting, HC forced the Lions into a 9-for-26 (.346) field goal performance in the first half.
The second half however, saw MSJ claw back to within nine points, 47-38, with 11:11 remaining. Hanover responded with a trey from junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) on the next possession, which sparked a 20-3 scoring spurt for the Blue and Red. The Panthers' run put them back in front by 26 points, 67-41, with three minutes left to play.
Fails recorded 12 points in each half during his game-high 24-point performance. The senior, who was recently named to the Small College Basketball's Bevo Francis Award top 100 watch list, netted 9-of-13 shots, while adding six assists, five steals and three rebounds.
Junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) and sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) each flirted with a double-double Wednesday night. Williams logged 12 points, on five-of-seven shooting, and seven rebounds. Hibbard added 10 points and seven rebounds. Junior Ryan Cloncs (Danville, Ind.) scored all eight of his points in the first half and grabbed six boards as well.
Hanover did not cool off much in the second half, finishing the game with an overall shooting percentage of .545 (30-55). The defense was also stellar, holding MSJ to 20 makes on 47 attempts, including a 2-for-15 mark from deep.
The Blue and Red controlled most ancillary stats as well, including a 40-24 edge in paint points and a 31-25 advantage on the glass. Hanover also turned 14 MSJ turnovers into 19 points.
The Panthers, who are now in a three-way tie for first in the HCAC standings, will look to keep pace with their counterparts with a trip to Franklin on Saturday, Jan. 19. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. inside the Spurlock Center.
Contact: Tyler Jester