Brian Gunter recorded his third career double-double and five players reached double figures as Hanover's men rolled to an 82-54 basketball victory over Bluffton (Ohio) Saturday in Collier Arena.
Gunter, a senior from Louisville, had 11 points and a season-high 11 rebounds to help spark Hanover to its second-consecutive league win and seventh in the program's last eight outings against Bluffton.
Hanover blew open a close game with a 15-2 run during a six-minute stretch late in the first period. Protecting a 17-13 lead midway through the half, Desmond Marks started and capped the burst with buckets from point-blank range as the Panthers surged into a 32-15 lead with 4:30 to play in the half.
Hanover led 41-26 at halftime and expanded the lead to 23 points (54-31) four minutes into the second period after Michael Van Kleunen, Ryan Nowicki and Drake Hendricks nailed consecutive 3-pointers.
Bluffton got no closer than 21 points (56-35) the rest of the way.
Hanover's defense limited Bluffton to just 20 field goal attempts in the first half (10-of-20) while building the double-digit lead. The Beavers finished the game 23-of-53 (43.4 percent).
Hanover, meanwhile, was 31-of-63 from the floor (49.2 percent) and hit 10 3-pointers (10-of-25). The Panthers committed only nine turnovers and totaled 19 assists, including seven by sophomore Tim Bass.
The double-double was the first for Gunter since he tallied 16 points and 12 rebounds in a 67-52 loss at Manchester last January. He also achieved the feat with 12 points and 10 boards in a 74-58 win over Franklin as a sophomore.
Van Kleunen had a game-best 13 points and also added a season-high six rebounds for the Panthers. Hendricks, Nowicki and Marks added 10 points each.
Will Pope and Dustin Kinn each netted 12 points for Bluffton, which slipped to 4-9 overall and 0-6 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with the setback.
Hanover, now 7-6 overall and 4-2 in the HCAC, hosts Translyvania (Ky.) University on Wednesday.
Gahimer, Morse led women to fourth-straight win
Seniors Katie Gahimer and Natalie Morse each scored a season-high 13 points to lead Hanover College's women's basketball team to its fourth consecutive victory, topping Bluffton (Ohio) 84-69 Saturday in Collier Arena.
Gahimer, from St. Paul, added six rebounds and Morse, from Mitchell, matched her career-best with six assists as the Panthers improved to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Elyse Weddle made three consecutive lay-ups as the Panthers jumped out to an early 14-7 lead at the 14:10 mark.
The Panthers continued to build a steady lead behind Shauna Watson's six first-half assists. Watson's fast-break lay-up gave Hanover its largest lead in the first period at 36-20 with 3:16 remaining.
Gahimer then rebounded a Katie Brewer miss to convert a lay-up just as time expired, giving the Panthers a 38-26 lead at halftime.
Hanover appeared on the verge to run away with the game in the second half as Alicia Hopkins and Morse scored 10 points in the first three minutes.
Morse converted an acrobatic lay-up, forcing a Beaver timeout at the 17:33 mark after the Hanover lead had grown to 17 (46-29).
A Weddle bucket pushed the lead to 58-36 with 11:37 before Mikayla Coburn sank three consecutive free throws to spark a 13-3 Beaver run. Coburn scored seven of her 11 points during the rally.
The teams traded buckets as Bluffton threatened to shrink the Hanover lead to single-digits with 5:32 left in the game.
Hanover season scoring leader, Courtney Prater, who had had been held to only two points, broke loose for 10 points in the final five minutes to secure the Panther victory.
Sixteen Hanover players saw action with 13 cracking the scoring column.
Hopkins collected a game-high six steals, along with 12 points.
Two other Bluffton players reached double-digits. Forward Brooke Ruffer scored a game-high 16 points while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Kaitlyn Pennekamp scored 12 points off the bench.
Hanover out-rebounded Bluffton 42-40 and forced 24 turnovers. Led by Hopkins, the Panther snagged 14 steals.
Hanover shot 45.8 percent (33-of-72), while holding Bluffton (6-7, 1-5 Heartland) to 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Hanover hits the road Wednesday to play Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky.