Hanover College’s men’s basketball team earned a shot at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s regular-season title with a 73-70 victory against Transylvania University (Ky.), Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Lexington, Ky.
The triumph snapped a tie with Transylvania for second place in the league standings and placed Hanover just one game behind the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (21-3; 15-2 HCAC) heading into the regular-season finale between the schools.
The Panthers and Engineers will meet at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, in Collier Arena. With a Hanover victory, the squads would share the crown, but the Panthers would claim the top seed in the conference's post-season tournament based on tiebreakers, including the squad's season sweep of Transylvania.
Sophomore guard Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored a game-high 25 points to lead Hanover's road victory.
Senior forward Brian Gunter (Louisville, Ky.) chalked up a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while sophomore guard Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 14 points off the bench.
Senior guard Ryan Nowicki (Westfield, Ind.) added seven points to reach 1,202 for his career, making him the 24th player in school history to achieve the milestone.
Brandon Rash netted 22 points and Ethan Spurlin chipped in 17 for Transylvania, which slipped to third in the Heartland Conference standings with the setback. The Pioneers are now 18-6 overall and 13-4 in the league.
Transylvania led by as many as 15 points (23-8) in the first stanza and held a 13-point advantage (44-31) in the opening five minutes of the second period.
Hanover used a 21-8 run through a seven-minute stretch in the middle of the second half to tie the game at 52-52 with 8:29 to play.
Bass scored eight points in the burst, including back-to-back three-pointers, while James, senior guard Drake Hendricks (Muncie, Ind.) and freshman swingman Matt Wehner (Pendleton, Ind.) each hit from behind the arc to fuel the run.
The squads were tied five times down the stretch, with Transylvania eventually easing ahead 68-62 with 1:43 on the clock.
However, Bass scored twice from inside and James added his third three-pointer of the contest to give the Panthers a 69-68 lead with 1:01 left.
Spurlin hit a pair of free throws to nudge the Pioneers ahead, 70-69, with 50 seconds to play, but Gunter answered with two from the charity stripe to give Hanover a 71-70 lead with 17 ticks remaining.
Transylvania missed a field-goal attempt with nine seconds left and Nowicki canned two free throws for the final margin.
Gunter swiped the ball in the closing seconds to prevent a final shot for the Pioneers.
Hanover, now 17-7 overall and 14-3 in the HCAC, shot 41.9 percent from the floor (26-of-62), but made 10 three-pointers, including seven in the second half.
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013