Gunter's 31 points fuel Panthers' sixth straight win

Senior forward Brian Gunter (Louisville, Ky.) poured in a career-high 31 points to lead Hanover College’s men’s basketball squad to an 84-74 victory against Defiance College (Ohio). The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference battle was held Saturday, Jan. 19, in Collier Arena.

The triumph was Hanover’s sixth in a row and raised the Panthers’ record to 11-6 overall and 8-2 in the Heartland Conference. The win also marked the programs’ fifth in its last six games against Defiance.

Senior guard Ryan Nowicki (Westfield, Ind.) and sophomore backcourt mate Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 15 points apiece for the Panthers.

Ryan Hicks netted 24 points and Logan Wolfrum added 22 points for Defiance, which slipped to 10-7 overall and 6-3 in the HCAC with the setback.

Coming off a career-best 19-point outing at Anderson University, Jan. 16, Gunter surpassed that effort with 20 points in the first half and helped Hanover build a 43-34 lead at the break.

Senior guard Drake Hendricks (Muncie, Ind.) and sophomore guard Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind.) hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead to double digits in the opening minute of the second period and the Panthers stretched the lead to 14 points (52-38) fewer than three minutes into the stanza.

Wolfrum, limited to just two points in the first half, scored 15 points to spark a 24-14 run during a 10-minute span to pull the Yellow Jackets within 66-62 with 8:24 on the clock.

Hanover maintained the four-point cushion (70-66) with 6:45 to go before Gunter nailed a three-pointer to ignite an 8-2 burst to thrust the Panthers ahead 78-68 inside the four-minute mark.

Defiance closed within 80-73 on Mason Roth’s bucket from beyond the arc with 2:21 left, but Gunter countered with a three-pointer at the 1:08 mark and added a free throw with 30 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Spurred by Gunter’s 12-of-15 performance (80%), Hanover was 30-of-59 from the field (50.8%) and hit eight three-pointers. The Panthers were 16-of-24 at the charity stripe (66.7%).

Defiance shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the floor and earned a 32-27 advantage on the glass.

Gunter pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and sophomore center Desmond Marks (Bloomington, Ind.) added five boards for Hanover.

Hanover vs. Defiance (Ohio) statistics