The Hanover College men’s basketball team rode career nights from junior guard Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior forward Jacob Rieger (Cold Springs, Ky.) to defeat the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 67-62.
The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win moves Hanover into a four-way tie for first place, improving the team’s record to 11-5 overall and 7-2 in the league.
James sparked the Panthers from the start, hitting a short jumper to start the scoring 51 seconds into the game. James claimed a game and career-high 12 rebounds, with seven in the first half, turning in his first career double-double.
Rieger hit a perfect 3-of-3 from the field and sank both free throw attempts to pace Hanover with nine first-half points. Rieger’s trey at the 14:32 mark started a 12-4 Hanover run, building a 21-11 lead with 9:24 remaining in the first period.
Rieger would score five more in the second half to net a career-high 14 points.
Rose-Hulman shot 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the floor, but were held to 2-of-10 (20%) from behind the three-point arc in the first period.
Hanover hit 3-of-6 from three-point range and 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the floor as the Engineers never came closer than eight points after the first seven minutes of the first half.
Freshman center Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) sank a contested jumper in the lane and converted the following free throw to put the Panthers ahead 41-25 at intermission.
A Rieger lay-up pushed the Panthers' lead to 18 points (43-25) just nine seconds into the second half before a 9-0 run, headed by five Julian Strickland points, cut Hanover’s lead to 43-34 with 17:43 left to play.
Rose-Hulman used a series of runs, spearheaded by a big second half by Strickland and forward Jimmy Miller, to threaten Hanover, but were unable to hold off the hot-shooting Panthers.
Rieger scored on the following possession and junior point guard Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) finished a Hanover fastbreak with a spinning drive into the lane to reclaim a double-digit lead (47-34) at the 17:08 mark.
The two teams traded buckets the next few possessions, before another Strickland jumper lead to a 12-2 Rose-Hulman run. Two Tyler Duffy free throws cut the Panthers' lead to five, the smallest margin since 14:03 into the game.
Sophomore guard Ethan Black (Evansville, Ind.) scored in the paint on the next play and Hanover's defense limited the Engineers to only two free throws during the next 3:17 as the Hanover lead grew to 57-47 with just over eight minutes left in the contest.
Strickland hit three straight free throws and Miller scored in the paint, pulling Rose-Hulman within 59-53 with 4:58 to play.
On the ensuing play, sophomore forward V.J. Billups Jeffersonville, Ind.) sank a short jumper in the paint regain a two-possession lead (61-55).
Billups again answered the call on the next Panther possession, matching a Miller bucket with 1:56 to play, giving Hanover a slim 63-57 lead.
Just as the Panthers' lead seemed secure, Rose-Hulman guard Jordy Martin sank his only basket of the game, a deep three-pointer, to pull within three points (65-62) with just 32 seconds left in the game.
The Engineers forced a Hanover timeout on the following inbounds and committed fouls on three straight plays before sending James to the line with 22 seconds remaining.
James hit both free throws and the Panther defense forced a turnover on the next play to claim the victory.
Billups and sophomore forward Michael Van Kleunen (Mason, Ohio) both scored 12 points for Hanover, as the team shot 27-of-51 (52.9 percent) from the floor.
The Panthers won the rebounding battle with a 28-25 advantage, while forcing 14 turnovers and swiping seven steals.
With the win, Hanover moves into a four-way tie for the Heartland Conference lead with Rose-Hulman, Defiance College (Ohio) and the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio).
Strickland scored a game-high 27 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead Rose-Hulman. Miller added 12 points as the Engineers fall to 12-4 overall and 7-2 in the HCAC.
Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014