NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Defiance College Yellow Jackets marked the best start in 40 years Wednesday night with a 67-48 victory over Manchester University to open up conference play as Bernard Edwards scored 31 points and seven three pointers in a career night.
Edwards led Defiance (5-0, 1-0 HCAC) to its best start since the 1973-74 season when the Yellow Jackets started off the season with seven straight wins en route to a 22-6 finish and a National Tournament bid. His 31 points was a career high for the junior and the most for a Yellow Jacket since Logan Wolfrum scored 40 against Manchester (1-6, 0-1 HCAC) in January last season.
Edwards had 20 of DC's 35 points in the first half and finished the night 10-for-20 shooting with seven three pointers, tied for third most in program history for a game. The Detroit, Mich. native also picked up three rebounds and a block in the contest.
After a close game through the first 10 minutes, Edwards put Defiance in the lead with a jumper that sparked a 24-2 run for the Yellow Jackets over the final 9:33 of the first half. Edwards had 17 of the 24 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Mason Roth and Noah Reed also had five points a piece in the first 20 minutes for the Purple and Gold. Roth led the Yellow Jackets with six boards in the first 20 minutes and also had six assists. The junior finished with eight boards and nine assists to go along with five points in 30 minutes of action.
Reed logged 25 minutes off the bench for DC and finished with five points and four rebounds.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets were 11-for-24 (.458) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and held the Spartans to 4-for-21 (.190) shooting. DC also out-rebounded Manchester 22-12.
Edwards continued to have a strong presence for Defiance in the second half, adding 11 more points, including two more three pointers to finish with 7-for-14 on the night from behind the arch.
Kent Tietje came off the bench strong in the second half with eight of Defiance's 32 points on 3-for-3 shooting. Tietje finished with the second most points for the Yellow Jackets on the evening.
Ryan Hicks had the best night rebounding for Defiance in a team effort on the glass. Hicks finished with 10 of DC's 38 rebounds. Defiance has yet to be out-rebounded this season as Manchester finished with 29 in the game.
Defiance finished with 13 points off turnovers and added 14 more points on second chance opportunities, while opening up a lead as by as much as 24 points in the second half.
The Yellow Jackets finished shooting 44 percent from the field on the night and 39 percent from three-point range. Defiance was just 61 percent (11-for-18) from the free-throw line.
Defiance will return to action Saturday as part of a double header with the women's team at Mount St. Joseph. The men's game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.