DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Panthers fell in their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road test of the season, dropping the back and forth battle at Defiance, 75-69.
The Blue and Red (6-1 overall, 2-1 HCAC) saw four players finish in double figures paced by senior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) with 15 points while teammates junior Mark Albers (Pendleton, Ind.) added 13 points, junior Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.) 11 points and senior Ryan Cloncs (Danville, Ind.) 11 points.
The opening half saw the Panthers take the early lead following an Albers three-pointer at the 17:38 mark. But the excitement didn't last long as Defiance knotted the contest before a pair of Williams free throws gave HC the slight 11-7 advantage. With the score tied at 12-12 neither team was able to find a bucket before a Hibbard deep ball ended the deadlock with just over 12 minutes remaining.
The tough battle continued late into the half when sophomore Carlos Garcia (Mason, Ohio) and Albers netted back-to-back three-pointers to push the Hanover advantage, 24-17. However, the Yellow Jackets hung around slowly running their way back into the contest tying it with 2:28 to play. Defiance provided the final dagger of the half to take the 34-30 halftime lead.
The second half opened with much of the same as neither team could grab a footing when Ryan Cloncs and Williams provided back-to-back scores for the slim 40-38 margin. Cloncs dealt clutch minutes later with a three-pointer to extend the advantage before another Defiance rally saw them tie the contest with 7:52 remaining. The Yellow Jackets dominated late scoring the final five points for the 75-69 victory.
Hanover returns to action on Wednesday, December 18 when they take on Wittenberg. Tip-off is set for 3 PM.