Panthers win sixth straight, sweep regular season series with Transy

Logan Ratts

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Hanover men's basketball team extended its longest winning streak of the season to six games and stay tied atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings by defeating Transylvania on the road Wednesday, 76-66.

The Panthers (14-4, 9-2 HCAC) are now 6-1 since the calendar turned to 2019 and secured their second regular season sweep of the season, after doing so against Franklin last weekend. Hanover has also won six of the last seven meetings against the Pioneers (10-8, 7-4 HCAC).

Heading a balanced offensive attack, featuring five players with eight-plus points, was senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio). Fails scored 26 points, doing most of his damage at the charity stripe, where he went 10-for-11, including a 9-of-10 performance in the second half. The senior added a team-high four assists, and he and junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) combined for the squad's only four steals with two apiece.

Sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) added 12 points and five rebounds. The sophomore tallied 10 points in the second half. Recording all 10 of his points in the second stanza was junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.). Combined, Fails, Hibbard and Williams scored 34 of HC's 45 second-half points.

Off the bench, junior Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) logged a season-high 11 points on three-for-five shooting, as well as a five-of-six effort at the foul line. Joining in the Panthers' 19-15 edge in bench points was junior Christian Reed (Sellersburg, Ind.), who made all four of his field goal attempts for eight points.

Transylvania scored the opening six points of the game to take what would be its largest lead of the contest at the 17:55 mark of the first half. Hanover would rally back and a 9-4 scoring run over the final 5:27 of the frame helped lead the Blue and Red to a 31-25 edge at the intermission. Reed capped the run with a jump hook as time expired on the half.

Still tightly contested early in the second half, a 7-0 spurt by the Panthers put them up by double digits, 52-42, with 10:34 showing on the clock. Hanover would go on to make 11-of-19 field goals in the second half, a .579 clip, while also netting 22-of-28 free throw attempts.

Despite the Pioneers rallying from multiple deficits, a 7-2 scoring run by HC had the team up comfortably, 60-52, with less than five minutes to play. Free throws down the stretch helped secure the Panthers' largest lead of the game at 12 points, 69-57, before finishing with the 10-point margin as the final buzzer sounded.

With its hot shooting second half, Hanover finished the contest 24-of-51 (.471) from the field. The Panthers also went 25-for-32 at the charity stripe, outscoring TU by 13 points at the foul line. Hanover also forced the Pioneers into an overall shooting clip of .391 (25-64).

The Blue and Red will look to continue their recent form when they welcome Bluffton for a 2 p.m. tip, inside Collier Arena, Saturday, Jan. 26.

Contact: Tyler Jester