11th heaven

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Mike Case scored 18 points and Hanover is now head-and-shoulders above the HCAC.

The No. 21 Hanover men topped HCAC preseason favorite Anderson 57-54 on Saturday for their 11th consecutive win to take over first place in the conference.

Hanover prevailed in a extremely close game in which the Panthers and Anderson were separated by only one possession for the final 15 minutes. The Panthers seized the lead 53-52 on a free throw by Mitchell Meyer with 2:51 remaining. A Meyer jump shot extended the Hanover lead to thee but the Ravens pulled back within one on a Phil Hogan basket. Hanover hit one free throw with 24 seconds left and survived an Anderson missed layup to sustain the lead. Then the Panthers hit another free throw and survived an Anderson missed three to tie the game. The Panthers are now 12-2, 8-2 in the Heartland with a two game lead on Anderson and Manchester.

Like Hanover, UW-River Falls ran its winning streak to 11 by almost the same score. The Falcons held off UW-Platteville 56-53 at home to maintain its lead in the WIAC. Neither team led by more than four in the final 15 minutes. Shane Manor's layup gave the Falcons the lead for good, but UW-Platteville had a chance to tie the game when Joe Allen's three-pointer rattled out. Manor finished with 18 points and six assists.

Troy Whittington scored 15 points in 19 minutes as No. 6 Williams eased past Tufts 71-52. The Ephs' big man scored 29 points in 40 minutes in the Friday-Saturday NESCAC games after missing time with an injury. Like Williams, No. 5 Middlebury and No. 10 Amherst made it through the first round of conference play unscathed. Middlebury beat Bates 78-65 and Amherst beat Wesleyan (Conn.) 77-61.

No. 7 Wabash got back on the court for the first time since last Saturday's loss to No. 1 Wooster and had little trouble getting back on the winning end as Wes Smith poured in 32 points in the Little Giants' 80-58 win at Allegheny. No. 18 Franklin and Marshall snapped its modest two game losing streak with an 84-71 win at Washington College. No. 8 Augustana survived a trip to Carthage, winning 58-54 behind a double-double from Kyle Nelson. Christopher Newport knocked off No. 22 Ferrum behind 24 points and 12 rebounds from Mike Green.

Outside the Top 25, BJ Smith banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer from beyond half court to lift Widener over Lebanon Valley, 71-70. Smith scored six points in the final five seconds and the Pride improved to 3-1 in conference. Widener travels to Alvernia, which handled Messiah 72-56, for a first place showdown in the MAC Commonwealth on Wednesday night. Catholic had no answer for Asmar Capers, as the Drew junior scored 41 points in the Rangers' 90-74 win. Defiance rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime, then won when Logan Wolfrum's layup with 1.6 seconds left.

The Yellow Jackets beat Franklin 94-92. Marietta bounced back from back-to-back losses to beat John Carroll 101-90.