The Herald Bulletin

January 16, 2013

Panthers wear down Ravens

Short-handed AU can’t handle Hanover’s pressure in second half

By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Hanover made 20 of its final 28 field goal attempts Wednesday and pulled away in the second half for an 89-66 victory against a short-handed Anderson University men’s basketball team at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

Because of a mixture of injuries and ineligibility, the Ravens (7-9, 3-7 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) had just seven active players. Four of them scored in double figures, including junior Cody Jackson whose team-high 20 points all came in the first half.

AU led 38-37 at the break and 43-42 with 14:32 remaining in the game against the second-place Panthers (10-6, 8-2).

“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Ravens coach Owen Handy said of his team’s effort. “For 30 minutes, we really played well.”

Hanover wore down AU with a relentless pressure defense.

The Panthers finished with 22 steals, forced 27 turnovers and scored 33 points off of those miscues.

No player converted the turnovers into points more efficiently than Hanover’s Tim Bass. The sophomore guard had six steals and finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting.

Bass scored eight straight points for the Panthers to break a 44-44 tie, and Hanover never trailed again. Sophomore Nate Gross scored a traditional three-point play to break the run, but the Panthers scored the next seven points to go ahead 59-47 and kept their lead in double figures the rest of the way.

“Obviously, Hanover’s a terrific team,” Handy said. “Their press eventually just wore us down. They did what they do best, and that’s why they play that way.”

Senior Brian Gunter added 19 points for the Panthers, and sophomore Kyle James had a game-high seven steals.

The Ravens got 13 points from Gross, 11 from sophomore Isaac Loechle and 10 from sophomore Max Mollaun.

Mollaun added a team-high eight rebounds and four assists.

But it was Jackson who made the stat sheet pop the most.

His hot shooting kept AU in the game in the first half, and his jumper at the buzzer gave the Ravens the lead heading into the locker room. He finished 8-of-12 overall and 4-of-7 from 3-point range but attempted just one shot in the second half.

“I thought he played very unselfishly in the second half,” Handy said. “Hanover came out focused all of their attention of keeping him from scoring, and he continued to play hard and make his cuts and do the things he had to do to get his teammates open. That can be hard to do after a half like he had, but he was incredibly unselfish.”

Jackson’s first half was a revelation.

He entered the game averaging just 3.2 points and had made just 13 field goals all season. He was 6-of-25 from 3-point range before his first-half heroics.

“Cody is a good shooter,” Handy said. “He’s not shot a high percentage this year, but he is a good shooter. He showed that tonight, and he did a great job using screens.”

Former Pendleton Heights star Matt Wehner played 13 minutes and grabbed one rebound for Hanover. The freshman guard said it was nice to come back to Madison County and play in front of friends and family.

He’s also enjoying being in the thick of the HCAC race.

“We had to string a few together because we were struggling to win on the road,” Wehner said. “This is good for our confidence.”

Madison-Grant’s Gross and Frankton’s Carson Breckenridge both were in the starting lineup for the Ravens. Gross finished with six rebounds to go with his scoring output, and Breckenridge pulled down five boards.