The Hanover College men’s basketball team trailed visiting Transylvania University (Ky.) for most of the first seven minutes of play, before rallying to defeat the Pioneers, 87-63.
The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win improves the Panther record to 16-8 overall and 12-5 in the HCAC and assures Hanover a home game in the first round of the HCAC tournament Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Sophomore forward V.J. Billups (Jeffersonville, Ind.) hit seven-of-10 shots from the field, scoring a game-high 21 points.
Junior guard Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind.) dished nine assists and scored 17 points, while freshman center Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore forward Evan Bingham (Louisville, Ky.) added 10 and 11 points apiece off the bench.
Bingham led the Panthers with seven rebounds as the team won the rebounding battle with a 41-32 advantage.
The Panther defense also forced 15 turnovers while collecting 10 steals.
Despite losing the final rebound tally, Transylvania used a flurry of rebounds and consecutive baskets by Parker Stansberry early in the first half to gain an early 14-7 lead (12:44).
After a Hanover timeout, the Panthers made a concerted effort to score inside with 16 of their next 18 made shots coming from inside the paint.
Down seven, Muchmore went to work scoring on two consecutive possessions. Bingham then followed with two jumpers of his own to spark a 28-4 Panther run.
Leading 35-18 with 4:44 remaining in the first half, Hanover hit four consecutive free throws and got two timely buckets from Bingham andMuchmore to quell any thoughts of a Transylvania rally.
The pair scored eight and nine points apiece in the first half, with junior center Desmond Marks (Bloomington, Ind.) adding eight leading the Panthers into intermission with a 45-28 lead.
Alex Jones scored on the first possession of the second half and Ethan Rowe followed with a jumper in the lane to cut the Hanover lead to 45-32, but back-to-back baskets by senior forward (Cold Springs, Ky.) and Billups stopped the rally.
Transylvania never seriously threatened again as the Panthers enjoyed a 20 point margin the rest of the game.
Hanover hit 15-of-24 (62.5%) shots in the second half despite missing all five three-point attempts. The Panthers shot 54 percent (31-of-57) for the game, while limiting Transylvania to 36 (20-of-55) percent from the floor.
Jones scored 15 points for the Pioneers, while Joe Jennings snagged a game-high nine rebounds. The loss drops Transylvania to 9-15; 7-10.
With one game remaining in the regular season, Hanover is tied for third place with the College of Mount St. Joseph in Heartland league play.
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014