Men's basketball rallies from 24-point deficit in 62-58 victory at Caltech

Kevin Williams

PASADENA, Calif. – The Hanover men's basketball team rallied from a 24-point deficit in the second half to close out its California trip with a 62-58 win at Caltech Wednesday evening.

The Panthers (8-3), who have won three straight, trailed by 20 points at halftime after scoring a season-low 12 points in the first stanza. Hanover then found itself down 24 points early in the second half, before a 33-9 run evaporated the deficit, as a jumper from freshman Zach Harp (Cincinnati, Ohio) tied the game at 48-all with 6:23 to play. Hanover's run was engineered by a 15-2 scoring spurt over a five-minute, 10-second time frame.

The Beavers (4-3) though, responded with a 7-0 scoring run, taking a 55-48 edge with just under four minutes remaining. The Panthers once again rallied, closing the game on a 14-3 run. Seven straight points from sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) put HC in front 59-58 with 37 seconds left to play.

Caltech would miss a pair of three-pointers down the stretch and two free throws from junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) secured the victory for the Blue and Red. The Panthers have now won eight or more games prior to January in three straight seasons and four times in the past nine years.

Leading the rally was senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio), who scored all 22 of his points in the second half. Over the final 20 minutes, Fails made four-of-six field goal attempts, including a three-for-five effort from behind the arc. The senior finished with six rebounds, while also going 11-for-13 at the foul line for his sixth straight 20-plus-point performance.

Williams, Harp and Hibbard all finished in double figures as well, scoring 11, 10 and 10 points, respectively. Williams went three-for-three from the field and 5-for-5 at the charity stripe, while tying Fails for the team-high with six rebounds.

After scoring the first five points of the game, Hanover found itself on the wrong end of an 18-3 run, giving the Beavers their first double-digit lead of the game at 18-8. Making just 4-of-19 field goal attempts, the Panthers trailed 32-12 at the half. Junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) had all five of his points in the first half to lead HC's scoring. Robertson and classmate Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) tied for the team high with three assists apiece.

After shooting just over 20 percent in the first half, the Blue and Red made 14-of-23 shots in the second half, good enough for a .609 clip. Overall, HC shot 42.9 percent from the field, while holding Caltech to a .419 shooting clip overall and a .348 mark in the second half.

Hanover has now rallied from at least a 15-point deficit in two of its last three outings. The Panthers finish their December slate 5-1, coming from behind for a win four times.

The Blue and Red will now break from action until traveling to face Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference preseason favorite, Rose-Hulman, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Contact: Tyler Jester