The Hanover men's basketball team finished the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 26-4, advancing to the NCAA Division III Sectional Championship, also known as the Elite Eight.
The Panthers' deep run in the NCAA National Tournament marked the first time in program history the team reached the NCAA Tournament Round of Eight. Overall, Hanover has now appeared in three Elite Eight games, with the first two coming during the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) days.
The Blue and Red also posted one of the top five records in program history since the end of World War II. Hanover's four losses are tied for the third fewest in a single season since 1946.
TOURNAMENT RUN SO "SWEET"
For just the third time in program history, the Hanover men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16." Hanover's appearance in the Sectional Rounds was its first in 12 seasons, last appearing in 2004-05. The Panthers also recorded their first NCAA "Sweet 16" victory at Hope (Mich.) this year.
BACK IN THE BIG DANCE
Hanover was announced as 1-of-64 teams to compete in the NCAA National Tournament back on Feb. 27. The appearance in the "Dance" marked the first time for HC since receiving an at-large bid in the 2010-11 campaign. The Panthers were the only team to make the 2017 tournament from the HCAC.
The 2016-17 season also saw HC host the NCAA First and Second rounds for the first time in program history. Hanover defeated Westminster (Mo.) in the opening round and followed it up the next night with a 64-63 victory over North Central (Ill.) in front of 1,500 fans.
After winning the program’s first HCAC regular season title since the 2004-05 season, the Hanover men’s basketball team followed up with a conference tournament championship back on Feb. 25-26. Hanover hosted the HCAC Tournament for the first time since the 04-05 campaign, and similarly, ran the table to pick up the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Hanover went 16-2 in HCAC play during the regular season, posting the program’s most conference wins in a season since the HCAC formed in 1998-99. The Blue and Red then defeated Transylvania on a last second shot from senior Corey Muchmore in the conference semifinals, and followed by a 58-51 victory over Mount St. Joseph in championship game.
NET CUTTING CEREMONIES FROM THE HCAC REGULAR SEASON AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIPS
McKINNEY EARNS ALL-AMERICAN STATUS
Junior Wes McKinney picked up two All-American awards during the 2016-17 season. The junior's first national award was earned by his work in the classroom, as the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) named him a second team academic All-American.
McKinney was also announced by D3Hoops.com as a fourth team All-American. Both national awards for the junior were the first in program history by the respective organizations.
SPECIAL YEAR FOR HEAD COACH JON MILLER
Head coach Jon Miller not only received numerous coaching accolades during the 2016-17 season, but he also recorded a coaching victory milestone.
Miller recorded his 200th career coaching victory against Ohio State-Lima back on Dec. 30. The win took place at Defiance College, where Miller got his first head coaching job and his first career victory.
In terms of accolades, Miller was named Coach of the Year on three separate occasions. Miller won the coaching award for the HCAC, D3Hoops Great Lakes Region and NABC Great Lakes District.
THREE PLAYERS, COACH MILLER HONORED WITH HCAC AWARDS
Junior Wes McKinney was named HCAC Player of the Year and Miller won the Coach of the Year award to highlight the conference accolades for HC.
McKinney also earned first team honors, while senior Corey Muchmore joined him on the first team all-HCAC. Sophomore Cam Fails was awarded with a second team selection.
MUCHMORE'S POSTSEASON RUN GUIDES PANTHERS
Senior Corey Muchmore’s play over the final three weeks showed he did not want his collegiate career to end. In the HCAC Tournament, Muchmore averaged 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 70 percent from the field, en route to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He also hit the game-winner in the closing seconds of HC’s semifinal victory over Transylvania.
The senior followed that performance up with an even better weekend in the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Against Westminster and North Central, Muchmore averaged 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, shooting over 66 percent from the floor.
In the NCAA Sectional Rounds, Muchmore continued his dominant presence in the post. The senior scored over 20 points in both games, averaging 21.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He shot close to 70 percent in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.
Overall, in six postseason games this season, Muchmore averaged 19.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He made 50-of-73 field goal attempts for a .685 shooting clip.