HOLLAND, Mich. – A magical and historical season came to an end for the No. 12 Hanover men’s basketball team on Friday night, as they fell to Augustana (Ill.) 77-64 in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
The Panthers conclude the season at 26-4 overall, posting one of the top five seasons, based on record, since the end of World War II. Hanover also advance to its first ever NCAA Tournament Sectional Round Championship after winning three games in national postseason play.
In what would be his final game with the Blue and Red, senior Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) left it all on the court, posting a team high 22 points and nine rebounds. Muchmore made his first nine field goal attempts and finished the contest 10-of-14.
Junior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.), who hit the game-winner in the Sweet 16 on Friday night, added 20 points and eight rebounds, making 7-of-13 field goal tries. Sophomore Cam Fails (Mason, Ohio) led the team with three assists, while pitching in with nine points.
Doing most of his offensive damage at the charity stripe, junior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) totaled eight points, while tying Muchmore for the team high in rebounds with nine. Smith made 5-of-8 attempts at the foul line.
After a contest on Friday night, which drained every ounce of energy and emotion out of the HC players, the Panthers were unable to make that final run on Saturday that they have become known for all season long.
After falling behind by as many as 14 points in the second half, it appeared as though the Blue and Red were going to pull off another come-from-behind victory, as they rallied to close the gap to just six points, 66-60, with 3:42 remaining in the contest.
The deficit quickly ballooned back to double figures, and the closest HC was able to get was nine points, at 73-64 with just under one minutes remaining.
Hanover had its second worst shooting performance of the season, and its lowest field goal percentage since the calendar turned to 2017, making just 22-of-57 attempts (.386). The team also struggled at the foul line, going 15-for-29, a .517 shooting clip.
Rebounds also proved to be a deciding factor in the contest as, Augustana (23-8) held a 48-35 edge on the glass. Both sides grabbed double-digit offensive rebounds, with the Vikings holding a 13-10 advantage in second chance points.
The Panthers received a layup from Muchmore on their opening possession of the game, taking their lone lead of the game at the 19:23 mark of the first half.
Augustana extended its first half lead to as many as nine points on multiple occasions, but HC was able to pull within seven at halftime, 40-33.
The memorable season ends in a place Hanover has never been, the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Stay tuned for a more in-depth season recap in the coming days.
Contact: Tyler Jester