Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - Powered by a squad-leading Senior Day performance from senior Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio), the Hanover men's basketball team held off a second-half Manchester push for a 66-62 victory Saturday afternoon inside Collier Arena.
The Panthers improved to 18-5 overall, with a 13-3 slate against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foes. The Spartans dropped to 9-14 on the season with a 6-10 mark in the HCAC. With the win, the Blue and Red keep a one-game lead in the HCAC standings with two outings still to be played.
Both teams were slower than normal out of the gates, as they combined for a 4-4 tie with 15:24 remaining in the first half. The Blue and Red responded with a 7-1 scoring run in just over two minutes, and after a made three-pointer by junior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) the score was 11-5 in favor of HC.
Although Manchester responded with a pair of made shots in just over one minute following, HC went on a 10-2 run between 11:49 and 8:37 to grab a 21-11 advantage. The action was back and forth for the next five minutes, and when the clock showed 3:37, junior Christian Reed (Sellersburg, Ind.) made a layup that captured Hanover's biggest first-half lead, a 30-19 margin. By halftime, the score was 35-27 in favor of the Blue and Red.
The second half started hot for HC, as Fails accounted for seven points and four rebounds in the first three minutes to help the Blue and Red take a 44-27 lead with 17:31 remaining in the game. At the 15:44 mark, sophomore Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) made a layup that aided Hanover to a 48-30 lead, one of their largest of the afternoon. Minutes later, Fails would make a jump shot at 10:53 to give the Panthers their other 18-point margin.
Manchester would not be defeated easily, as they roared back to make the tally 56-45 with 7:12 on the clock. Freshman Matt Weimer (Georgetown, Ind.) would hit from behind the arc to give HC a 14-point advantage with 4:12 left, but the Spartans would strike once more with an 11-0 run to pull the score to 63-60 with 40 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
After holding the ball for the entire shot clock, the Panthers came up empty, giving Manchester possession with 10 seconds left. However, the Spartans' errant inbound pass gave possession back to the Blue and Red, and Weimar sealed the victory with a pair of makes from the charity stripe.
Fails finished his Senior Day with 20 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists, with each statistic either leading or co-leading the team. Hibbard added 14 points, seven boards and three swipes for Hanover.
The Panthers took care of the rock, amassing just nine turnovers to 18 for Manchester. Moreover, HC scored 20 points off turnovers to 15 for the Spartans. Of the 18 turnovers for Manchester, 12 were steals by the Blue and Red.
Hanover will next take the floor at Mount St. Joseph, with a 7:30 p.m. scheduled tip-off time scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Contact: Tyler Jester