Panthers open HCAC play with 51-point victory

Efficient shooting and a turnover-inducing pressure defense lead the Hanover College men’s basketball team to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference-opening victory with a 99-48 win against Manchester University. The match-up was held Saturday, Dec. 1, in Collier Arena.

Four Panthers reached double-digits, led by senior guard Ryan Nowicki’s (Westfield, Ind.) 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

Classmate Brian Gunter (Louisville, Ky) hit 6-of-8 shots from the field to score a career-high 17 points.

Freshman forward Michael Van Kleunen (Mason, Ohio) was perfect from the field, as he and senior guard Drake Hendricks (Muncie, Ind.) both notched 10 points to help the Panthers improve to 4-1.

Hanover's 99 points were the most scored by the program since the 2006-07 season, when the Panthers outlasted Westminster College (Pa.), 116-90.

A Silas Sims jumper at the 18:58 mark tied the Panthers 2-2 before the Hanover pressure defense forced five straight turnovers. The Panthers roared to a 15-2 lead and never looked back.

The Panthers hit double-digit three-pointers for the fourth time in five games, knocking down 14 treys on 36 attempts. Hanover shot 52.3% from the field on 34-of-65 shooting.

Manchester rallied to within 10 points as Sims and Jon Thompson were able to slip through the Panther press, cutting the lead to 24-14 with 11:10 remaining in the first half.

Sophomore point guard Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) found Nowicki for a long three-pointer while Gunter tipped a pass to himself and finished with a dunk that stifled the Spartan surge.

Nowicki scored 19 first half points, as the Panthers finished the period with a 53-26 advantage.

Hanover continued the uptempo pace in the second period, pushing the Panther lead to as much as 55 points off of 13 forced turnovers.

Freshman guard Ethan Black (Evansville, Ind.) converted two free throws with 51 seconds remaining to complete the Panther scoring.

Manchester (3-4, 0-1 HCAC) turned the ball over 26 times, while the Hanover defense held them to 30.5% (18-50) shooting.

Hanover out-rebounded Manchester 38-37 and collected 15 steals.

Hanover vs. Manchester stats