Hogan takes it to the wire to make AU history

Mon, 2013-02-18 10:22 -- univcomm
Phil Hogan
February 18, 2013

With 4:58 to go in Saturday’s game, it was apparent that the Anderson University men’s basketball team was playing its last game of this season.

The Ravens were well on their way to a 58-45 loss to Mount St. Joseph, a defeat that would end any chance the team had to play in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

So the only drama during that final media timeout was whether senior Phil Hogan would score enough points to break Johnny Wilson’s school record for best scoring average in a single season. Hogan went into the game needing 13 points to average 25.5 per game, eclipsing the 25.4 Wilson averaged in the 1948-49 season.

Yet with 4:58 on the clock, Hogan still needed seven more points. He had hit just 2 of 17 field goals up to that point.

“They were playing tough defense on me today,” said Hogan. “They were keeping me from getting to the points I wanted to go to score easy baskets.”

Through the next two minutes, Hogan failed to score. At the 2:49 mark, he hit two free throws to move within five. At 2:03 he had another chance at the charity stripe, but missed the front end of a one-and-one.

The game entered its final minute and with 52.7 seconds remaining he hit two more free throws. If he didn’t score any more in this game, his average would be 25.3.

With 41 ticks left, the Lions missed a layup and Frankton’s Carson Breckenridge pulled down a rebound for AU. This would likely be the final possession of the Ravens.

Hogan didn’t force the issue. He waited for the game to come to him as he has so often in his storied career. Finally, with 7.5 seconds left, he got an opening behind the 3-point line and launched a deep attempt. The ball hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity before settling into the net. The AU bench and the Raven fans cut loose with a noise that was a mix of relief and celebration. Hogan had the record with a 25.5 scoring average.

“I was out on Wednesday (AU’s previous game) and talked to him,” said Wilson, who was on hand to watch his achievement drop one line down in the record book. “I told him I hope he got it. I think 65 years is long enough to hold the record.”

For Hogan it was a mixture of emotions that probably even a senior in college should not have to experience on the same day. He played his final game as a Raven, his team missed the HCAC tournament for the first time, and his name is now a part of Raven lore.

“I don’t think I really feel it yet,” Hogan said. “But it is a good feeling. Johnny Wilson is such a great man and it is a honor to hold the record. But I don’t think it has sunk in either that we didn’t make the tournament. Each of my other three years were a shoe-in with two weeks left in the season. But even with me missing eight games we still had a chance to get in. I am so proud of my teammates.”

Wilson had nothing but nice things to say about Hogan.

“He is the most unselfish scorer I’ve ever seen,” said Wilson. “He had it tougher scoring than I did. Sure, he has a 3-point shot. But when I played the lane was only six feet wide so I could get real close. I don’t want this to sound racial, but I was only playing against other white players and they couldn’t jump and I could. That made it easier for me.”

Nothing was easy for the Ravens on Saturday. They hit just 34 percent of their shots from the field while allowing Mount St. Joseph to hit 51 percent. Hogan was the only player to score in double figures. Max Mollaun was next with nine.

Hogan is the only senior on the team, which finished at 11-14 overall and 7-11 in the HCAC.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.