Second half shooting sends men's basketball past Franklin in HCAC opener

Cam Fails

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team used a pair of double-digit scoring runs in the second half to rush past Franklin in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener Saturday afternoon, 75-58.

The Grizzlies (1-5, 0-1 HCAC) recorded a steal and long-range three-pointer as time expired on the first half, to take a 36-34 lead. A first half featuring seven ties and eight lead changes saw Hanover (4-2, 1-0 HCAC) jump out to a six-point advantage at the 9:46 mark, 20-14, but FC rallied to take the lead at the intermission.

The second stanza belonged to the Panthers, who shot 51.7 (15-29) percent from the field, while holding Franklin to a .286 (8-28) shooting clip. Hanover outscored the Grizzlies 41-22 over the final 20 minutes of play.

Key in the second half run were scoring spurts of 12 and 15 straight points. The first for HC came at the start of the period, as the Blue and Red hit four shots from long range on their first seven offensive possessions. Hanover went five-for-nine on second half three-point tries and finished with a .500 percent clip (8-16) for the game. Hanover led 46-36 with 16:43 showing on the clock.

Senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit two treys during the run, as he paced the Panthers with a season-high 22 points. Fails produced arguably his best statistical performance of the season, as he tied season-highs in assists, six, and rebounds, five, while also swiping a season-best five steals.  

Franklin was able to cut the gap to four points on two occasions midway through the second half, but a 15-0 run, filled with a combined 10 points from Fails and junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.), gave HC its largest lead of the day, 19 points, at 66-47 with 6:55 remaining.

Williams hit double figures in the scoring column for the second straight outing, tying a career high with 12 points. The junior made six-of-seven field goals for the second time in a week.

Overall, Hanover's starting five produced over 86 percent of the team's offensive production, combining for 65 points. To go along with Fails and Williams, sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) and freshman Zach Harp (Cincinnati, Ohio) were in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Hibbard stuffed the stat sheet with career-high marks in assists, six, and steals, four, while adding six rebounds. Harp did most of his damage in the first half, where he scored eight points. The freshman finished four-for-seven from the field, including a three-of-four effort from behind the arc.

As a reserve, junior Ryan Cloncs (Danville, Ind.) tallied eight of the bench's 10 points. Cloncs also pitched in with a pair of rebounds and assists.

Outside of second half scoring, another key advantage for HC was the turnover battle. The Panthers forced 21 Grizzly giveaways, turning them into 16 points. On the other hand, Hanover turned the ball over just 10 times.

The Panthers, who have now won five straight HCAC openers, will continue their mini-homestand by welcoming Transylvania for a 7:30 p.m. start next Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Contact: Tyler Jester