Sophomore forward V.J. Billups (Jeffersonville, Ind.) scored a career-high 23 points to spark Hanover College’s men’s basketball team to an 80-44 triumph against Earlham College in Richmond, Ind.
The victory is Hanover’s fifth in the last seven games and raises the squad’s record to 14-7 overall and 10-4 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Junior guards Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 13 points apiece for the Panthers, which have won 11 of the past 12 meetings with Earlham.
Hanover shot 55.2 percent (32-of-58) from the field and, on the defensive end, limited the Quakers to a season-low 17 points in the second half. The handcuffing was the best for the squad since holding Oberlin College (Ohio) to 16 points in the first period of the 2012-13 season-opener.
The Panthers also earned a 36-29 advantage on the boards. Sophomore forward Evan Bingham (Louisville, Ky.), in 22 minutes off the bench, collected a career-best nine rebounds to lead the effort.
Hanover held an 11-8 lead seven minutes into the game, then got six points from Billups to fuel a 10-0 spurt to nudge the margin to 21-8 with 9:30 to go before the intermission.
Billups netted six more points and freshman center Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) added two buckets from inside to push the lead to 18 points (36-18) with three minutes left in the half.
Earlham closed the frame with a 9-1 run to creep within 37-27 at the break. The Quakers then scored 12 seconds into the second half to cut the margin to 37-29, but could not pull within single digits the rest of the way.
Hanover, behind a three-pointer by senior forward Jacob Rieger (Cold Springs, Ky.) and a three-point play by Billups, countered with a 12-2 burst to grab a 49-31 lead with 15 minutes on the clock.
James scored 10 points and Bass converted twice from inside during the next six minutes to increase the cushion to 63-41 with 8:33 remaining in the contest.
Earlham, meanwhile, was held to just three points in the final 10:22 of the game.
The Panthers used the drought to expand the lead to more than 30 points (72-41) after a pair of free throws by junior forward Desmond Marks (Bloomington, Ind.) with five minutes to go.
Kirk Douglas scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Quakers, which slipped to 4-17 overall and 3-11 in the Heartland Conference with the setback.
Published Saturday, February 8, 2014