Panthers look to keep offensive momentum as HCAC play resumes this week
HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men’s basketball team will look to start the New Year just as they finished the Year 2016, with strong shooting performances, as Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play resumes this week.
Hanover (9-1, 4-0 HCAC), who has not played a home contest since Dec. 17, will be back on the road for a pair of conference games this week. The Blue and Red will first travel to Rose-Hulman for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and will then go to Earlham for a 4 p.m. game on Saturday, Jan. 7.
The Panthers were a perfect 6-0 in the month of December, one which saw the team jump to the top of the HCAC standings with a 4-0 start. Over the month of December, HC shot a combined .559 from the field, skyrocketing up the national leaderboard, as its season field goal shooting percentage of .530 is currently third in NCAA Division III. Hanover is also among the top 10 in all three NCAA divisions in shooting percentage.
The Blue and Red have been especially hot of late, shooting over 60 percent from the floor in two of their past three games, including a .644 shooting clip in the 118-65 win over Ohio State-Lima last time out. The scoring outburst set a new high under head coach Jon Miller, who picked up his 200th career coaching victory in the win over OSU-Lima.
Hanover logged two wins at the Defiance Purple & Gold Financial Invitational last week, adding an 81-67 win over Alma (Mich.) to go along with the victory over OSU-Lima. Leading the way offensively was senior Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio), who averaged 20.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while shooting .818 from the field.
Muchmore made all 11 of his field goal attempts in the game against OSU-Lima, falling just one made shot short of tying the program’s all-time record for most made field goals in a single game without a miss. On the season, Muchmore is shooting a conference best .698 from the field, a mark good enough for fourth in the nation as well.
Junior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) scored in double figures in both games last week, giving him at least 10 points in all 10 games this season. McKinney poured in a game high 26 points against Alma, making five three pointers in the process. The forward is second in the HCAC in scoring at 20.8 points per game, while his 9.1 rebounds per contest tops the conference.
With eight assists last time out, freshman Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) set a new career high in helpers and is averaging 2.5 assists per game this year. Ratts was also one of five players in double figures in scoring against OSU-Lima. Helping out in the assist department is junior Colin Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio), who has five dimes in each of the past three games. Smith is fourth in the HCAC with 3.5 assists per contest.
Hanover finished 2016 with its best 10-game start to a season since the 2003-04 campaign. The Panthers have an average scoring margin of 15.8 points per game, which paces the HCAC and is among the top 15 in the NCAA.
Contact: Tyler Jester