WHEATON, Ill. - Head Coach Jon Miller tallied his 200th career win as the Hanover men's basketball team staged a second half comeback against Dubuque to punch their ticket to the the Wheaton (Ill.)Tournament finals, 65-57.
Miller entered the season just seven wins shy of the impressive mark after earning his 100th career victory with the Panthers during the 2014-15 season.
The Blue and Red (7-2 overall) were led in the contest by junior Isaac Hibbard (New ALbany, Ind.) with a double-double netting 16 points with 10 rebounds. Senior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) added a game-high 16 points with four rebounds.
In the opening half, HC surged ahead early with back-to-back scores from senior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) and Hibbard that propelled the Panthers to the 10-5 lead. The hot streak continued for the Blue and Red with a three-pointer by sophomore Carlos Garcia (Mason, Ohio) at the 13:02 mark that pushed the lead before a Spartan run knotted the contest at 16-16.
The two teams battled late into the half when Dubuque hit back-to-back three-pointers for the slim 22-18 advantage with 7:34 remaining. They continued to rally extending the lead to nine with just over four minutes remaining when the Panthers used a balance attack to cut the deficit to 36-33 at the break.
The second half saw the Spartans surge ahead early when Wiliams hit a jumper in the paint followed by a Hibbard shot that cut the difference to just two, 43-41. They tied it moments later as Williams dealt clutch at the free throw line with 13:36 to play. Hibbard gave Hanover the lead off a fast break layup with 8:32 remaining and never looked back. Robertson delivered the clutch deep ball in the winding moments to secure the victory.
The Panthers return to action on Tuesday, December 31 as they compete as part of the Championship Game taking on the winner of Wheaton College and Saint Mary's University (Minn.). Tip-off is set for 4 PM.