HANOVER, Ind. – The Defiance College Men's Basketball team fell short in a comeback effort Saturday afternoon, falling to Hanover 67-63 at Collier Arena.
Defiance (8-3, 3-1 HCAC) opened up the game with a strong run, jumping out to as much as a seven-point lead over the Panthers (7-4, 3-1 HCAC) off of a quality first half performance.
Noah Reed (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) came off the bench in a big way for Defiance in the first half. The freshman, who was coming off a career-high 12 points in DC's last game versus Ohio Wesleyan, led all scorers with nine points in the first half, including seven straight points for the Yellow Jackets.
Mason Roth (McComb, Ohio/McComb) and Ryan Hicks (Port Clinton, Ohio/Port Clinton) each chipped in for five points, while Bernard Edwards (Detroit, Mich./Warren Cousino) and Wade Wooley (Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon) had four points as the Yellow Jackets went 12-for-22 (.545) in the first half.
However, Hanover also put together a strong shooting performance in the first half, going 13-for-23 (.565), most of which came in the final minutes as the Panthers rallied to bring the DC lead to just two points at the break.
The big difference between the two came from behind the arc as the half came to an end, where the Yellow Jackets made four three pointers to Hanover's one in the first 20 minutes.
After the teams traded a few baskets to start the second half, Hanover took the lead with an 11-2 run in a three-minute span.
From that point, Defiance struggled to close down the gap into the final minutes.
Hicks scored 20 of Defiance's 26 points over the final 14 minutes, including eight points in the final 2:08 of the game to close the gap.
Drew Frizell (Smithville, Ohio/Smithville) and Travis Schomaeker (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf) each hit a three to go along with Hicks' strong run to help Defiance pull Hanover's lead of 11 points down to two with 12 seconds left.
But the Purple and Gold ran out of time as the Panthers were able to hold on with a pair of free throws and a rebound on a quick shot from DC as the clock ran out.
Reed and Edwards each finished with nine points in the game. Roth finished with seven points.
Hicks led Defiance in rebounds, grabbing six of the team's 19. It was the lowest team rebounding total of the season by 13 boards for DC. The Yellow Jackets were outrebounded by 11 in the game, the largest deficit of the season and only the second time they were outrebounded.
The loss is the first in conference play for Defiance this season and the second straight after starting the season 8-1.
The Yellow Jackets will look to snap the two-game skid with the first of three straight in the friendly confines of the Weaner Center. Defiance will open up the home stand with a midweek battle against Anderson on Wednesday. The tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.