Fifth straight HCAC win keeps Panthers in first

Hanover College’s men’s basketball team shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the floor and notched its fifth consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory with a 75-59 win on the road against Bluffton University (Ohio).

Junior guard Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned his second career double-double with 16 points and 10 assists to lead Hanover, now 9-4 overall and 5-1 in the Heartland Conference.

Junior guard Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind.) had 14 points, sophomore forward V.J. Billups (Jeffersonville, Ind.) netted 12 and senior forward Jacob Rieger (Cold Springs, Ky.) matched his season-high with 11.

Hanover trailed 26-19 with six minutes left in the first period before the Panthers closed the stanza with a 19-3 burst to grab a 38-29 lead at the intermission. Bass scored nine points and sophomore swingman Matt Wehner (Pendleton, Ind.) dropped in consecutive three-pointers to fuel the run.

Bluffton cut the margin to five points (42-37) three minutes into the second half, but Hanover reeled off seven straight points, including five by James, through the next 90 seconds to drive the lead to 12 points (49-37).

The Beavers climbed within 53-45 with 11 minutes to go before James hit a pair of free throws, sophomore Evan Bingham (Louisville, Ky.) scored from close range and Rieger dropped in a bucket from inside to push the Panthers’ lead to 14 points (61-47) with 8:23 on the clock.

Bluffton, which has lost nine of its last 10 games against Hanover, would not get within single digits the rest of the way.

The teams each managed just one basket during a three-minute span. Billups then scored eight of his points in the final five minutes to maintain the Panthers' twin-digit cushion.

Hanover made 30-of-51 field goals (58.8%), including five three-pointers. The squad was 10-of-12 at the charity stripe (83.3%).

Rieger led the Panthers with six rebounds. James snagged five boards.

Billy Tafflinger scored 16 points to pace Bluffton, which slipped to 6-7 overall and 2-4 in the Heartland Conference with the setback.

The Beavers shot 44.9 percent from the floor (22-of-49) and hit 11-of-13 free throws (84.6%).

Hanover at Bluffton (Ohio) statistics