HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's basketball team will look to stay atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings and continue its current seven-game winning streak with matchups against Rose-Hulman and Anderson this week.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers will open the week by hosting Rose-Hulman at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30. Fans are asked to wear white as the men's basketball program has announced the game as a "White Out." Hanover closes the week with a trip to Anderson for a 4 p.m. start, Saturday, Feb. 2.
FAILS' STELLAR SEASON CONTINUES WITH MORE HONORS: Senior guard Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio) was announced Monday as the HCAC player of the week after he averaged 23.5 points and 5.5 assists per game during wins over Transylvania and Bluffton. Fails now has seven career player of the week awards, four HCAC weekly honors this season, including three of the last five.
The two-time 2018-19 preseason all-American is averaging a career-best mark in points (21.6), rebounds (4.3) and steals (1.8) per contest. The senior is also currently tied for his collegiate-best mark in assists per game, 3.8. Fails' scoring average leads the HCAC and ranks 35th nationally. He is also among the top 15 in the country in free throw makes and attempts, going 119-for-148 (.804) at the charity stripe this season.
DEJA VÚ?: The 2018-19 season is starting to setup similarly to the past two campaigns, both of which saw the Panthers win the HCAC regular season and tournament championships en route to a national tournament appearance. Hanover is 10-2 in league play for the third consecutive season and is riding a seven-game winning streak this month, which the team also accomplished a year ago. In fact, since 2017, HC is 20-5 in games played during the month of January.
CAM CLIMBING CAREER SCORING LIST: After another strong scoring week, Cam Fails has become just the 10th member in program history to surpass 1,600 career points. The senior's 1,606 points has him ninth all-time at HC, for a program that has a history dating over 125 years. Additionally, Fails ranks 21st nationally among active NCAA Division III players in career scoring.
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) has been a consistent cog for the Panthers all season long, as he is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The guard is leading the team in rebounding and ranks third in the conference. Hibbard's scoring has come along as well, as he has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 14 outings. He has posted at least 10 points and five rebounds in each of the last four games as well.
WILLIAMS' SHOOTING EFFICIENCY: Junior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) is currently on pace to break a program record that has stood for 50 years, as his season field goal percentage leads the HCAC and sits at .711. Hanover Athletic Hall of Famer and the program's all-time leading scorer, Mark Gabriel, currently holds the single season field goal mark at .669. Williams' efficient shooting has led him to double-digit scoring in four of the last five games, including a 12-point performance (5-6 FG) last Saturday against Bluffton. On the season, Williams is averaging a career-high 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest.
PRODUCTIVE WINGS: Junior wing players, Ryan Cloncs (Danville, Ind.) and Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) have balanced out Hanover's overall statistics on both ends of the floors. Offensively, Cloncs is coming off a season-high 13 points last Saturday, a game that also saw him snatch a career-high eight rebounds. Robertson has made one three-pointer in each of the last 14 games, as he netted three from deep last time out.
DOMINATING DEFENSE: Much of Hanover's success this season can be attributed to its efforts on the defensive end. The Blue and Red are allowing 61.1 points per game, which leads the HCAC and ranks third among all Division III teams. The Panthers are conceding a .410 overall field goal percentage to its opponents, while also forcing teams to a .292 clip from behind the arc, which ranks as one of the best marks in the country.
SCOUTING ROSE-HULMAN: The Fightin' Engineers, winners of 22 of their last 28 HCAC regular season games, enter Wednesday 13-6 overall and 9-3 in HCAC play, just one game back from Hanover. Rose-Hulman is coming off a road loss at Transylvania last Saturday, 81-70. The Engineers currently boast the HCAC's top offense, leading the league in points per game (74.6), field goal percentage (.476) and three-point percentage (.385). On the road however, their scoring and overall shooting numbers have dropped significantly, as RHIT is just 5-4 in true road games this winter. RHIT STATS
Hanover leads the all-time series with Rose-Hulman, 55-38. The Engineers though, have won four straight regular season meetings against the Blue and Red, including a 74-68 decision at the start of January. The Panthers however, did score a win in the HCAC Tournament championship game on the road last season.
SCOUTING ANDERSON: The Ravens enter the week 7-12 overall and 6-6 in league play. Anderson, who has lost four of its last five outings, will travel to face Defiance on Wednesday before hosting the Panthers this weekend. The Ravens are averaging 71.6 points per game, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field. AU STATS
The Blue and Red have taken each of the last five meetings with the Ravens, improving their overall series advantage to 101-57. The first four games during the current winning streak were decided by single digits, but HC scored a 78-51 triumph at home in the first meeting of this season back on Jan. 12. Hanover has also won three straight at Anderson, with the last road loss coming in Feb. 2015, by a count of 94-91.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will host their final two regular season home games next week, facing Earlham at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, and Manchester at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9. The contest against Manchester will also be Alumni and Senior Day.
Contact: Tyler Jester