HANOVER, IND. -- Cold shooting in the first half would lead to a 14-point deficit at halftime for the Defiance College men's basketball team which led to a 77-60 loss against Hanover (Ind.) College in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game in Hanover, Ind.
Defiance (4-15, 3-9 HCAC) shot just 31.0 percent (nine-of-29) overall in the first half and 33.3 percent (four-of-12) from the three-point line. The cold shooting allowed Hanover (15-3, 10-2 HCAC) to outscore the Yellow Jackets, 10-3, in the early minutes of the first half. The Panthers later extended the margin to eight points and the deficit remained at that mark until just under 10 minutes to go in the period when Hanover went on a 6-0 mini scoring run to make it a 14-point game, 24-10, with 7:53 to go before halftime.
The Jackets wouldn't go away quietly as an ensuing 8-2 run that ended in a jumper by sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth), put DC back to within striking distance, trailing by eight points, 26-18, with 4:46 remaining. But Hanover answered the Defiance run with six straight points as part of a 10-1 scoring run of its own to pots its largest lead of the half of 17 points, 36-19, at the 1:57 mark.
A three-pointer by senior Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and a jumper by fellow senior Devin Mangas (Leipsic) ended the scoring for the Jackets in the half as DC trailed, 38-24, at the intermission.
The offense picked up for Defiance in the second period as the Jackets shot 46.7 percent overall (14-of-30) and 55.6 percent (five-of-nine) from long range. Despite Hanover begining the final half with back-to-back buckets to extend the margin to 18 points, 42-24, Defiance narrowed the gap back to 14 points with consecutive layups by Aikins and senior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) making the score 42-28.
The Jackets equaled the 14-point deficit two more times before Hanover began to pull away and took command with a 9-0 run near the midway point of the period to lead by 24 points, 63-39, with 9:46 to go. The Panthers then went on to lead by as many as 29 points, 70-41, at the 7:56 mark.
Trailing by 26 points, DC made some noise late with a 10-0 run that was capped by another layup by Aikins to make the score 73-57 with just over two minutes left. But that would be as close as the Jackets would get the rest of the way as Hanover got the lead back to 20 points en route to posting the 77-60 final.
DC was led in scoring by Aikins who finished with 14 points on six-of-15 shooting (40.0 percent). Mangas was the only other Yellow Jacket in double figures with 11 points that included nine of those points coming from behind the arc.
In addition, senior Chris Holmes (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) grabbed a team-high five rebounds to go along with a team-tying high five assists. Parker also tallied five helpers.
Defiance will host Earlham (Ind.) College in a HCAC game on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Karl H. Weaner Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.