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EARFUL OF DEFENSE: Transylvania’s Dominique Turner (left) defends Hanover’s Isaac Hibbard as the sophomore guard from New Albany brings the ball upcourt during the second half of Wednesday’s Heartland Conference men’s basketball game at Hanover’s Collier Arena. Hibbard was one of three Panthers in double figures with 14 points as Hanover won 76-70 to remain unbeaten in the conference. (Staff photo by Mark Cabell)

 
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BACK BREAKERS: Hanover’s Cam Fails (above center) is helped up by teammates (from 35 left) Carlos Carcia, Zach Harp and Local Ratts after being fouled on a made 3-pointer that put the Panthers up 60-45 on Transylvania with 7:00 left in a 76-70 win at Collier Arena. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
BACK BREAKERS: Hanover’s Cam Fails (above center) is helped up by teammates (from 35 left) Carlos Carcia, Zach Harp and Local Ratts after being fouled on a made 3-pointer that put the Panthers up 60-45 on Transylvania with 7:00 left in a 76-70 win at Collier Arena. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
After playing through five ties and six lead changes over the first 15 minutes of Wednesday’s men’s basketball showdown at Hanover College, Transylvania had forged a 26-19 lead and seemed poised to roll into halftime with a comfortable lead in a big conference rivalry on the road.

But before Transy could extend that run into the intermission, host Hanover dug in on defense and shut down the Pioneers the rest of the first half. That defensive stand flipped the scoreboard for good as the Panthers went on a 13-0 run to take a 32-26 lead into halftime and never trail again.

Hanover led by as much as 15 points with 13:49 left in the second half before Transylvania mounted its own rally late in a bid to pull out the win. The Panthers (5-2, 2-0 HCAC) bent a little — and then a little more — but they never let Transylvania (3-4, 1-1 HCAC) get closer than four points the rest of the way en route to a 76-70 win.

Hanover’s big first half run came right after Transy’s Gabe Schmitt had drained a 3-pointer with 5:31 left to give the Pioneers a 26-19 lead. However, Transylvania went scoreless the remainder of the first half and the first 2:44 of the second half while Hanover mounted an 18-0 run that included free throws by Logan Ratts, Isaac Hibbard, Kevin Williams and Cam Fails, layups by Ryan Cloncs and Fails and 3-pointers by Blake Robertson and Fails.

By the time Transy’s Michael Jefferson scored on a layup with 17:16 left in the game, the Pioneers were trailing 37-28 and Fails answered that layup with the second of his four second half 3-pointers.

Fails, Hanover’s high scoring senior guard from Cincinnati, had been held to just three points in the first half but exploded for 19 in the second half en route to a game-high 22.

It was Fails’ third 3-pointer of the second half that staked Hanover to its largest lead of the game at 45-30 with 13:49 left. Transylvania used two 30-second timeouts over a 74-second span to try to stem the run and a more aggressive Pioneer lineup finally started clawing back into the game from that point on but the damage was done.

Hanover used back-breaking 3-pointers by Robertson and Fails — none bigger than Fails’ four-point play when he drained a trey from the right wing and was fouled to make it 60-45 and equal the Panthers’ largest lead with 7:00 left — and solid free-throw shooting to fend off the comeback. Transylvania’s more aggressive defense sent the Panthers to the foul line 17 times in the second half with Hanover hitting 15 including 10-of-12 in the stretch.

The Pioneers actually outscored Hanover 34-18 in the paint, 10-0 on fast breaks and 14-2 on second chances, but the Panthers were 10-of-21 from behind the arc (47.6 percent) to Transy’s 3-of-15 (20 percent) and Hanover hit 26-of-33 at the foul stripe (78.8 percent) to the Pioneers’ 13-of-19 (68.4 percent).

Isaac Hibbard, a sophomore from New Albany, was 7-for-8 at the foul line late and 9-of-11 overall to score 14 total points to go with three rebounds and two steals for Hanover. Robertson, a junior from Greenfield, hit 4-of-6 3-pointers for a season-high 14 points to go with five rebounds, two steals and three assists.

Sophomore guard Michael Jefferson led Transylvania with 18 points and six rebounds and Schmitt, a junior guard, scored 16 — both off the bench — while Cooper Theobald and Spencer McKinney had 10 points each.

The Panthers, now one of just two conference unbeaten teams along with Rose-Hulman, will look to stay perfect in the HCAC at Bluffton (Ohio) at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Beavers (5-2, 1-1 HCAC) won 82-80 in overtime at Earlham on Wednesday night.

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WEDNESDAY’S MEN’S GAME

at Hanover

HANOVER 76, TRANSYLVANIA 70



TRANSYLVANIA (3-4, 1-1 HCAC) — Jefferson 18, Schmitt 16, (g)Theobald 10, McKinney 10, (c/f)Schroeder 6, (g)Sivills 4, (g)Twenty 4, (f)Schuh 2, Root 0, Gentry 0, Pashley 0, Hemmerich 0, Turner 0.



HANOVER (5-2, 2-0 HCAC) — (g)Fails 22, (g)Hibbard 14, (g)Robertson 14, Cloncs 8, (f)Williams 7, Ratts 4, (g)Harp 3, Washburn 2, Reed 2, Bray 0, Garcia 0.



3-Point Goals — Transylvania (3 (McKinney 2, Schmitt 1), Hanover 10 (Fails 4, Robertson 4, Hibbard 1, Harp 1). Rebounds — Transylvania 31 (Jefferson 6, Schroeder 6), Hanover 32 (Williams 7, Robertson 5). Assists — Transylvania 4 (Schuh 2), Hanover 12 (Robertson 3, Ratts 3). Steals — Transylvania 8 (Sivills 3), Hanover 4 (Hibbard 2, Robertson 2). Turnovers — Transylvania 16, Hanover 20. Free Throws — Transylvania 13-19, Hanover 26-33. Total Fouls — Transylvania 26, Hanover 16. Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — Transylvania (Twenty), Hanover (Robertson).