Hibbard, Albers lead Panthers to season opening victory over Spalding

Hibbard, Albers lead Panthers to season opening victory over Spalding

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -The Hanover men's basketball team opened its 2019-20 season Tuesday evening with a 68-58, road victory over Spalding (Ky.).

The Panthers (1-0) had three players score in double figures as they notched their tenth straight home-opening win. The Golden Eagles, who are coming off a 11-14 campaign in 2018-19, fall to 0-1 in the new season.

Junior Mark Albers (Pendleton, Ind.) paced the Panthers with 12 points in his first game in a Panthers uniform while junior Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) added 11 points of his own to go along with five rebounds and a team high eight assists. Rounding out the trio of double-digit scorers was senior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) who supplied 10 points of his own.

Hanover trailed the entire first half as the Panthers struggled out of the gate, only making nine field goals in the first half. Ty Houston (Union, Ky.) helped keep the Blue and Red in the game towards the end of the first half as the freshman drained a crucial 3-pointer followed by a putback 2-point field goal after an offensive rebound to ensure Spalding was not out of striking distance. Houston finished the contest with eight points and four rebounds off of the bench.

The second half was all Panthers. A huge steal and transition layup from Hibbard tied the game at 33-33 which lead to the only lead change of the game. Hanover started the half on a hot scoring run outscoring the Golden Eagles 23-8 in the first ten minutes of the second half.  Back to back 3-pointers from Carlos Garcia (Mason, Ohio) swung all the momentum the Panthers' way as they took the lead 53-41 and never looked back.

Hanover's defense was sharp all night long as they held Spalding to just 35.1% shooting on the night (20-57). The Panthers shot 51.6% in the second half to go along with their tough defense and propel the Blue and Red to the victory.

Team leaders for Hanover on the night were: Albers who supplied 12 points, Hibbard who finished the contest with eight assists and two steals, Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.) added seven rebounds, and Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) connected on each of his three shots to lead the Panthers with a field goal percentage of 100%

Hanover will look to continue its strong start to the season when they host Boyce College (Ky.) on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. in its home opener in Collier Arena.