LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Hanover men's basketball team bowed out of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Friday evening as they fell to no. 6 seed Rose-Hulman in a competitive 69-63 decision.
The Panthers finished the season 17-9 overall with an 11-7 mark in conference action. Rose-Hulman advances to the semifinals of the tournament taking on no. 2 seed Franklin to be held Saturday, February 29.
The Blue and Red were led in the contest by senior Kevin Williams (Edinburgh, Ind.) and junior Isaac Hibbard (New Albany, Ind.). Hibbard netted a team-high 17 points with five assists while Williams chipped in 12 points with six rebounds. Freshman Ty Houston (Union, Ky.) pulled in a team-high nine rebounds with eight points.
The Panthers dominated the opening half as senior Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) propelled the team to the early 6-0 advantage. The hot shooting continued as junior Mark Albers (Pendleton, Ind.) knocked down a deep ball before another Ratts layup pushed the HC lead to 14-5 with 15:13 to play. After being held scoreless for nearly three minutes Houston delivered with a deep ball to give Hanover the 19-10 advantage. The difference would reach double-digits moments later as junior Connor Washburn (Fishers, Ind.) put down a dunk with 8:47 till intermission.
Houston brought the energy late in the half for Hanover as he connected for back-to-back Panther scores to extend the lead to 33-19 with just 3:34 left. However, Rose-Hulman responded scoring the last seven points of the half to cut the difference to 33-26.
The second half opened with the Fightin' Engineers on the charge as they used a 20-3 run to flip the script and claim the 46-36 advantage with 16:02 to play. Williams halted the charge before a Hibbard layup and free throw saw HC pull within 46-41. But again, the Rose-Hulman offense prevailed as they netted a deep ball.
Hanover cut the deficit to as little as three points with just over 11:00 minutes remaining but were unable to overcome the Rose-Hulman momentum as they pulled out the 69-63 triumph.
The Blue and Red finished the contest shooting 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from the floor with seven three-pointers led by senior Blake Robertson (Greenfield, Ind.), Houston, and Albers with two three-pointers, respectively.