By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It was a senior moment to remember at O.C. Lewis Gym on Wednesday night.
Phil Hogan, the lone senior on the Anderson University men’s basketball roster, turned the game around in a three-and-a-half minute stretch.
The end result was an 85-81 win for the Ravens over Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance, but the journey was nearly as good as the payoff.
AU dominated the game early, leading 19-5 and 22-7, but the Yellow Jackets cut the margin to 32-25 at intermission.
“We’ve not been starting the second half very well,” said Ravens head coach Owen Handy. “But this time we gritted it out.”
Defiance junior forward Ryan Hicks completed a three-point play with a free throw to put the visitors ahead 50-49 with 9:06 remaining. It turns out it was the only time in the game the Yellow Jackets had the lead.
Just 22 seconds later, sophomore Andrew Larrick hit a shot inside to give AU back the lead. That ignited a 17-4 run and the main ingredient in that mix was Hogan. He scored 11 of those 17 points.
“I sent out an email to my teammates this week and told them I wasn’t going to keep playing the way I’d been playing,” said Hogan. “I’m the type of player that if I can get two or three in a row to fall, I know I’m going to have a good night. Teams in this conference do a pretty good job of trying to keep me out of the paint. But I was able to take it to the basket tonight.”
That stretch left the Ravens in front 66-54 with 5:45 to go in the game. Defiance couldn’t cut it to a one-possession game until only three seconds were left.
“We’ve talked that down the stretch we need to take care of the ball, rebound and hit free throws,” said Handy. “We didn’t do that so well through all of the game, but we did it at the end.” AU had just 12 turnovers for the game.
For the game the Ravens hit just 62 percent from the free throw line, but in the final minutes, they hit 15 of 20.
“We didn’t want to go 0-2 in the conference,” said Hogan. “This is such a young team. We’ve got one senior and a bunch of sophomores and one junior.”
Hogan finished with 29 points, hitting half of his 20 field goal attempts and 8-of-11 free throws.
He had three teammates score in double figures, topped by Madison-Grant’s Nate Gross with a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Isaac Loechle scored 13 points and Max Mollaun added a dozen.
The HCAC’s top scorer, Defiance’s Logan Wolfrum had just four points at intermission but finished with a game-high 32. Drew Frizell scored 19, Hicks 16 and Travis Schomaeker 11.
The Ravens will take a 3-2 and 1-1 record on the road on Saturday to face Mount St. Joseph.