Men's basketball stumbles late at Ohio Wesleyan, 57-54

Christian Reed

DELAWARE, Ohio – In a game featuring 11 ties and six lead changes, the Hanover men's basketball team fell to its second straight North Coast Athletic Conference opponent, dropping a 57-54 decision at Ohio Wesleyan Wednesday evening.

The Panthers (3-2) had three players score in double figures, led by senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio), who had 19 points. The senior scored 14 of his team-high total in the first half, as he also pitched in with four rebounds, two steals and two assists over the 38 minutes of action.

Adding to the scoring were juniors Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) and Christian Reed (Sellersburg, Ind.). Williams tallied 10 of his season-high 12 points in the second half, as he finished six-for-seven from the field. Reed did all of his damage in the opening 20-minute session, where he scored 10 points.

Williams was one of three Panther players with at least seven boards in the contest, as sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) paced the team with eight. Junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) added seven rebounds, while also dishing out a team-best four assists.

The first half was played within a nine-point window, as neither side led by more than five points. The largest lead of the period came from Hanover, as a Fails three-pointer capped an 11-2 run to give the Blue and Red a 30-25 advantage with just over three minutes showing on the clock.

Ohio Wesleyan (3-2) would battle back to cut its deficit to one point at the intermission, 30-29. With both sides shooting over 40 percent in the first half, the Panthers were led offensively by Fails and Reed, who combined for 24 of the team's 30 points.

After a solid shooting first half, neither side could capitalize on their looks in the second half, leading to both teams posting sub .350 field goal percentages. Overall, each side shot 38 percent for the game.

Hanover though, did get off to a fast start in the second half, racing out to a 39-31 lead less than five minutes into the period. Williams had six points during the 9-2 scoring spurt, which gave HC its largest advantage of the night at eight points.

The Battling Bishops would eventually climb all the way back to tie the game at 44-all with less than eight minutes remaining. After the two sides traded baskets, a quick 6-0 run by HC, capped by a Williams layup, put the Panthers back in front 52-46 with 5:15 left to play.

Unfortunately for HC, seven straight misses saw its lead evaporate and the team was staring at its largest deficit of the night, five points, at 57-52 with less than one minute remaining.

Williams added another bucket to pull the Blue and Red within three points and after a defensive stop, HC had possession with 11.9 seconds remaining. The Panthers though, were forced to take a contested three-pointer, which resulted in a miss as time expired.

Hanover will look to put its two-game losing skid to an end when the team opens Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play this weekend. The Panthers host Franklin in the conference opener at 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1.

Contact: Tyler Jester