Written by Brandon Tereshko
HANOVER, Ind. – Defensive intensity and a balanced scoring effort enabled the Hanover men's basketball team to cruise to a 63-45 victory over conference foe Earlham Wednesday evening.
The Panthers improved to 17-5 overall and 12-3 in the HCAC thanks to 4 players scoring in double figures while the Earlham Quakers fell to 6-16 overall and 5-10 in HCAC play.
The first half was all Hanover as the Panthers opened up a 19 point lead at the break thanks to an early 12-0 run and a defensive effort that left Earlham with only 18 points at the break. Hanover held the Quakers to 7-of-28 shooting in the first half.
Early in the second half sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) nailed a three-pointer to put the Panthers up 42-24 with 16:42 remaining. Hanover though, went on a scoring drought failing to score in close to 4 minutes. A Hibbard layup with 13:06 remaining broke the drought as the sophomore finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while also adding four steals and two assists.
With Earlham closing the gap to 37-46 with a pair of free throws at 10:06 remaining, The Panthers defense tightened holding the Quakers scoreless for the next five minutes. Junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) lead the defensive stand while holding Earlham's leading scorer, and fifth leading scorer in the HCAC, to only five points on one-of-eight shooting from the field.
As the Panthers cracked down defensively the offense heated up, scoring 13 unanswered points to blow the game open at 37-59 with 5:00 remaining, before cruising to the 63-45 victory.
Senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, OH) led all scorers with 16 points on seven-of-eleven shooting. The senior continues to move up the Hanover career scoring list as his 16 points were good enough to move him into a tie for fifth.
Fellow starters junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) and freshman Matt Weimer (Georgetown, Ind.) also scored in double figures as they posted 12 and 11 points, respectively. Williams and junior Christian Reed (Sellersburg, Ind.) both snagged a game high eight rebounds.
Overall, the Hanover defense held the Quakers to 30 percent shooting on the night including only 17 percent from beyond the arc. Also separating themselves from Earlham by turning the ball over only eight times in the game as the Quakers committed 18 turnovers.
The Panthers hold a one game lead for the top spot in the HCAC with only three games remaining in the regular season.
Hanover will look to build momentum heading into the postseason as they play host to Manchester to kick off a Senior Day doubleheader at Collier Arena, tip-off is slated for 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9.
Contact: Tyler Jester