Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team suffered a heartbreaker Tuesday night inside of the Graham Athletic Center seeing their comeback hopes fall short 80-79 against Hanover College.
The Purple & Gold outscored the Panthers 44-33 in the second half erasing a 12-point halftime deficit and had an opportunity with 1.2 seconds left to win the game but couldn't get off a shot as time expired.
Whittier drops now to 2-8, 0-2 SCIAC and have now lost four of five in the month of December. Hanover had a big game from senior Cam Fails who posted a career high 32-points, which included a six-for-seven performance from behind the arc. He was tough to stop as he came in as a pre-season All-American by D3hoops, while being mentioned in the Street & Smith's National Basketball Yearbook.
The Poets got off to a slow start seeing the Panthers jump out to a double digit lead at the break. Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) kept the Poets in the contest pouring in 10 of his team high 16 points with four boards over the first twenty minutes. HC opened the game with a 10-2 run with Fails scoring seven of them over the first 2:20. They then added a 15-2 spurt that pushed their advantage to 21, which was their largest lead of the game.
But the Poets battled and chipped away at the lead over the final 5:16 of the period. Potthoff started the comeback with back to back triples, Kenyatta Louder (Compton, Calif.) went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe and Joey Toyama (Pasadena, Calif.) would add a jumper and three-pointer that made the score 43-33.
Hanover extended their lead to as many as 16 on two different occasions in the second half, including a 73-57 advantage with 6:33 left. But again the Poets would rally outscoring HC 22-7 the rest of the way, which included a 12-3 run early with Potthoff again answering from deep followed by five straight from Louder, which included another tre. With 1:10 left, the fireworks started. Isaac Hibbard made one of two from the free throw line that moved the score to 79-74. Journey Shank (Burbank, Calif.) had an opportunity to cut the deficit to three with a pair of free throws but missed both.
After a pair of missed free throws from HC on their next possession, Whittier capitalized with :36 seconds left as Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) connected from deep making it a two point game. Whittier picked up a foul on their next possession sending Hibbard to the line. He would go 1-2 giving WC a chance. After a missed three-pointer to tie it, Louder got the offensive board and laid in a two cutting the deficit to one. Whittier provided a press on the in bounder and almost picked up the turnover but HC was able to gather it and again would miss a layup giving the Poets one last look. From the endline, Whittier got the ball past half court with 1.2 seconds left but couldn't get off a shot as Hanover held on for the victory.
Whittier battled though in the game shooting 47.4% from the field and 41% from behind the arc. They won the battle on the glass 37-30 and turned the ball over just 16 times. They received 27 points from their bench and added 26 points inside the paint, while earning 19 points off turnovers.
Potthoff just missed out on a double double with 16 points and nine boards. Louder added 14 points with seven rebounds and Kyle Price (Rocklin, Calif.) once again was strong inside with 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Off the bench, Toyama registered 12 points going 5-for-9 from the field and Longmire chipped in with eight points and six boards in 17 minutes of action.
Whittier now enters the holiday break and will return to practice next week in preparation for UC Santa Cruz next Saturday, December 29 beginning at 7:00pm.