Hibbard's near triple-double lifts men's basketball over Defiance, 77-72

Isaac Hibbard

HANOVER, Ind. – Sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) nearly logged the program's first triple-double in over a decade, as his performance helped lift the Hanover men's basketball team to a 77-72 triumph over Defiance Saturday afternoon, inside Collier Arena.

Hibbard accounted for 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists Saturday afternoon, which earned him his second double-double of the season. The sophomore's 15 rebounds mark a career-high and is the first 15-plus board performance by a Panther in over 10 years. The eight dimes were also a new career-best for Hibbard.

After falling in an early hole, which grew to as many as 16 points in the first half, the Panthers (6-3, 3-1 HCAC) rallied to close the final 9:18 of the period on a 30-9 run. Hanover's cold start eventually warmed up to a .484 shooting clip at the end of the first half, as the team also netted six shots from deep to take a 45-40 lead at the intermission..

Hibbard was a part of a scoring trio that paced the Panther offense throughout, especially during the first half. The sophomore, senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Zach Harp (Cincinnati, Ohio) combined for 34 of the team's 45 first-half points.

Harp scored 15 of his 19 points in the opening half, where he made all four of his three-point attempts. The freshman added four rebounds as well, a new best in his brief collegiate career.

Fails had 12 points in the first half, as he finished with a game-high 22 points. The senior made 13-of-17 free throw attempts, while also pitching in with four rebounds, four assists and a team-high three steals.

Overall, the trio accounted for over 70 percent of the team scoring, combining for 55 points. The group also had nearly 60 percent of HC's rebounding total.

Hanover led for most of the second half, even extending its edge to 12 points, 68-56, after a 7-0 scoring spurt. With just under five minutes remaining though, the Yellow Jackets (0-8, 0-4 HCAC) went on a 14-1 run to take a 70-69 lead, as 1:20 showed on the game clock.

The Panthers rallied to recapture the lead, as Fails netted six-of-eight attempts at the charity stripe and a layup from junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) helped lead HC to its third straight Community Day victory.

Williams finished a foul-plagued game with six points on a perfect three-for-three shooting. Off the bench, freshman Christian Stewart (Clarksville, Ind.) added five points to help spark the early comeback efforts.

Turnovers were nearly even, 14 for Defiance and 13 for Hanover, but it was the Blue and Red that capitalized on the giveaways, scoring 19 points off the DC errors. The Panthers also enjoyed a 30-22 edge on paint points.

Hanover will break from conference play now, as they travel west for the first time since the 2014-15 season to take on a pair of California institutions. The Panthers open the trip with a 5 p.m. (PT) -- 8 p.m. (ET) -- start against Whittier on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Contact: Tyler Jester