CARMEL, Ind. – A leader emerged in week nine on the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) men's basketball season, with Franklin College breaking from the pack with a 5-1 league mark. Hanover College, Anderson University and Rose-Hulman rest in a three-way tie for second, all with conference marks of 4-2.
Around the League:
Athlete of the Week:
Payton Mills (Newburgh, Ind.) Franklin College | Forward | Junior – Mills led Franklin in scoring in each game as the Grizzlies claimed wins over Transylvania and Anderson to take over sole possession of first place in the league. He poured in 18 points in just 21 minutes of action against Transy on Wednesday. Mills went for 20 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday's road win over Anderson.
- Maurice Knight (Frankton, Ind.) Anderson University | Forward | Junior - Knight averaged 10 points, 8.5 rebounds and three blocks for the Week. He notched seven points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in a 65-54 win against Manchester. Knight then scored 13 points as Anderson fell to Franklin in a battle for first in the HCAC.
- Andrew Renner (Cairo, Ohio) Bluffton University | Guard | Senior - Renner dropped in 17.5 PPG, including 22 points on Wednesday in Bluffton's victory at Defiance when he also eclipsed 1,000 career points. Renner added 2.5 RPG and 2.0 BPG as Bluffton went 1-1 in conference games.
- Marell Jordan (Lafayette, Ind.) Defiance College | Guard | Sophomore – Jordan averaged 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. During the week, he made 2-of-5 three-pointers and all six of his free throws.
- Matt Weimer (Georgetown, Ind.) Hanover College | Guard | Sophomore - Weimer deemed clutch in the Panthers sweep of Mount St. Joseph and Bluffton as he finished the week shooting 54.5 percent from the floor, including 4-of-7 from three-point. In the contest with the Lions, the sophomore came off the bench for 10 points, shooting a perfect 2-for-2 from deep. He carried the momentum into the weekend as he again came off the bench for double-digit scoring (11) with six rebounds and three assists.
- Keiton Hall (Lansing, Mich.) Manchester University | Guard | Graduate Student - Hall helped spur Manchester's 68-64 OT win at Earlham on Saturday by knocking down five 3-pointers. He finished with 15 points and five rebounds against the Quakers, adding 11 points and three three-pointers in MU's midweek game against Anderson. Hall averaged 13.0 ppg for the week while shooting 47.1 percent (8-17) from beyond the arc as the Spartans went 1-1 for the week.
- Craig McGee (Loveland, Ohio) Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology | Guard | Junior – McGee averaged 13.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game as Rose-Hulman defeated Earlham and Mount St. Joseph last week. McGee scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and nine assists to narrowly miss a triple-double against Earlham, and recorded sis points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a win at Mount St. Joseph. He shot 47 percent from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point range for the week.
- Gabe Schmitt (Louisville, Ky.) Transylvania University | Guard | Senior - The senior guard matched a career-high with 31 points on Wednesday night in an 84-81 loss at Franklin before providing 12 points and a game-sealing basket with 26 seconds left in a 90-83 win over Defiance at home on Saturday to finish with a 43-point week on 7-for-12 shooting from three-point range. On Wednesday Schmitt scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half and hit 9-of-19 field goals on the night, including a 5-for-8 showing from downtown. Schmitt hit his first five three-pointers of the game to help the Pioneers erase a 19-point second-half deficit before Franklin rallied late to win. In Saturday's win over Defiance, Schmitt produced 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal to lock down Defiance. With Defiance cutting a double-digit Transy lead down to three points inside a minute to go, Schmitt connected on a left corner three with 26 seconds left in regulation to give the Pioneers a six-point lead and push the game out of reach. For the week, Schmitt shot 58 percent from three-point range, 50 percent from the floor (13-26 FG), a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, and totaled three rebounds, two assists, and a steal while averaging 21.5 ppg.