NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University broke away from nip-and-tuck Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference match-up with Franklin College Wednesday, Jan. 4, to gain a 79-72 home court victory.
Coach Gerad Good's Spartans, eliminating a six-game skid, went back and forth with the visiting Grizzlies throughout the evening at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena. After seeing the visitors take as large as a seven-point advantage in the first half, MU answered closing the first 20 minutes by scoring 12 of final 18 points. The two sides each held leads in the first part of the second half but, with the scoreboard knotted at 59-59 above the Stan Weller Court honoring Coaches Hoffman and Wolfe, the home team, much to the delight of a strong mid-week crowd of nearly 400 fans, broke away on a 20-13 stretch over the final nine and a half minutes to secure their first league win.
The guard duo of sophomore Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior Tyler Alexander (Indianapolis, Ind.), as it has done already in 2016-17, led the scoring attack. Johnson netted 21 points due, in large part, to a nine-of-10 effort at the charity stripe to go with a team-best four steals. Alexander was just off double-double pace with 18 points and nine rebounds and also blocked two Grizzlies' shot attempts. Freshman guard Erik Bell (Evansville, Ind.) also had a respectable outing, scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out seven assists.
Manchester University, sitting just a game out of the conference's top six, welcomes Rose-Hulman to North Manchester Saturday, Jan. 7. Tip-off time is 4 p.m.