Men's basketball survives late Earlham push in 59-58 road win
RICHMOND, Ind. – On a night where the offense struggled to score, the Hanover men’s basketball team still found a way to win, defeating Earlham for their eighth consecutive victory, 59-58.
The game was tied at 55-55 with just under two minutes remaining, when the Panthers (11-1, 6-0 HCAC) received layups from senior Corey Muchmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Logan Ratts (Martinsville, Ind.) to go in front 59-55 with one minute left to play.
Earlham (5-8, 1-5 HCAC) responded with a three pointer to close the HC lead to 59-58 with 41 seconds remaining. After a missed jump shot from the Blue and Red, the Quakers were left with the final possession and an opportunity to win, but Muchmore forced an errant shot from the elbow as time expired.
The 58 points marked a new season low for HC, and the first time that they have scored under 60 points in a game since the second contest of the 2015-16 season. Hanover also logged its lowest shooting percentage in the past eight games at .449 (22-49).
Muchmore finished the contest with 13 points and 13 rebounds, recording his third career double-double. The senior also logged HC’s lone blocked shot on defense.
Junior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) scored a team high 19 points, making four shots from behind the arc. Ratts added 10 points and a team high four assists.
Off the bench, sophomore Cam Fails (Mason, Ind.) scored nine points, while he also swiped a team high four passes.
Hanover opened the game shooting the ball well, making six of their first seven shot attempts to go in front 14-4 less than six minutes into the contest.
The Panthers led by double figures for most of the first half, and a layup from Ratts gave them their largest lead of the game at 17 points, 33-16, with 2:17 remaining before halftime. HC led 33-22 at the intermission.
Hanover made just 9-of-26 field goal attempts (.346) in the second half as the Quakers were able to get back into the game.
The second half was played in a series of runs, as EC opened the second stanza with the first seven points. Hanover responded however with their own 7-0 run, and led 40-29 with 12:21 remaining.
Earlham then used a 13-3 run to cut the HC lead to one point, but again, the Panthers responded with their own series of points, as a McKinney three-point-play capped an 8-0 run to give HC a 50-42 advantage with just under eight minutes left to play.
With a three pointer at the 4:06 mark of the second half, EC captured its first lead of the game. The three pointer capped an 11-2 spurt by the Quakers.
Fails answered on the next HC offensive possession with a three pointer of his own to secure a 55-53 advantage for the Panthers with 3:41 left.
The win for Hanover marks their eighth straight overall and keeps the Panthers alone at the top of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings, with an unblemished 6-0 record.
Hanover’s victory also sets up a matchup between the top two teams in the HCAC standings next Wednesday, Jan. 11, between the Panthers and Mount St. Joseph. The Blue and Red will host the Lions for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff inside Collier Arena.
Contact: Tyler Jester