HANOVER, Ind. – The Panther men's basketball team will look to bounce back in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road action this week taking on area rival Franklin on Wednesday, February 5 and Earlham on Saturday, February 8.
HCAC SHAKE OUT: The gap among the top six teams in the HCAC continues to close as teams edge closer to top ranked Franklin (9-3 HCAC). Hanover and Transylvania currently sit in a second-place tie with an HCAC record of 8-4 but are being hunted by Anderson and Rose-Hulman with a 7-5 overall league mark. Bluffton rounds out the top six with a 6-6 record.
WEEK REVIEW: The Panthers split the week defeating Mt. St. Joseph behind a game-high performance from junior Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) with 23 points and 10 rebounds before falling on the road to Manchester. As a unit, the Panthers averaged 55.5 ppg on the week, while shooting .409 percent from the floor (45-of-110).
IN THE RANKS: The Blue and Red defense continues to be a driving force as they land in the top five in three separate categories among NCAA Division III institutions. They currently rank second in fewest fouls (242.0 on the year), third nationally in personal fouls per game (12.7), and fourth in scoring defense (60.6 ppg).
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: The Panthers are allowing just 60.6 ppg, a conference leading mark, while forcing teams to shoot just 42.2 percent from the floor. Leading the defensive efforts is senior Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) with a team-high 30 steals, while Hibbard leads the rebound efforts averaging 6.3 rebounds per contest. The junior also uses his defense to generate the offense netting a team-high 12.5 ppg with 4.4 helpers per outing. Ratts comes in at second in assists this season averaging 4.3, registering team-highs in each of the teams last three contest.
SCOUTING FRANKLIN: The Grizzlies enter the week with a 13-6 overall record, 9-3 HCAC mark after dropping a pair of league matchups to Transylvania and Bluffton. The last meeting saw the Panthers defeat Franklin 70-51 despite three Grizzlies finishing in double figures. Sam Gutierrez led the offensive efforts with 15 points, while Kale Morris chipped in 11 points.
The Grizzlies last win over Hanover inside the Spurlock Center came during the 2015-16 campaign by a margin of 83-71.
SCOUTING EARLHAM: The Quakers look to complete the sweep of the Blue and Red for the first time since joining the HCAC. Earlham claimed the early season battle 70-65 behind the performance of Jamel Barnes with a game-high 19 points. Joining him in double figures were teammates, Chainey Zolman (15 pts.), Blake Bonin (13), and Kenneth Stalling (12 pts.).
The Quakers will look to snap a four-game losing streak on Wednesday playing host to Transylvania.