Spartans side-step Franklin, gain HCAC victory
FRANKLIN, IND. – Sparked by an occurrence that hadn't happened for Manchester University since the 2004-05 campaign, the Spartans claimed a hard-fought Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road win 67-65 over Franklin College Thursday, Jan. 9.
Junior forward Jon Thompson (Rushville, Ind.) had a night to remember for the Black and Gold (2-10 overall, 1-4 HCAC). He went 13-of-22 from the field, including hitting a three-point bucket, en route to a 30-point effort. It was the first such for an MU player since Eric Berger did so against UW-Eau Claire early in the 2004-05 campaign.
"He's working his way back," head coach Brad Nadborne said. "He's doing that behind two fantastic games where he's scored a combined 53 points … taking names and passing out business cards. Jon is a very special offensive player. He put us in position to win tonight."
Thompson's single-game career high evening was part of a frenetic finish inside FC's Spurlock Center. The Spartans scored seven of the game's first eight points and built as large as a 10-point first half lead as part of a 33-27 halftime advantage. Franklin (6-6 overall, 3-2 HCAC) battled back and overtook their guests in the final 10 minutes of regulation, leading by as much four (53-49) with 7:42 left.
However, Manchester University answered the bell. They went on an 8-0 run at that point and didn't trail down the home stretch. The host Grizzlies did have two chances in the final six seconds to tie but both shots were off the mark.
"We played with a ton of poise … really gutsy," Nadborne said. "(Franklin) came back on us in the second half and took the lead, but we bounced back. We were resilient all night, as it seemed like every time they made a move at us, we managed to answer.
"That final sequence was pretty hectic," he added. "One of their players drove in and missed a lay-up, and they got the rebound and had another look around the elbow that was just off. We survived it, as we were pretty tired at that point."
MU continues HCAC action Saturday, Jan. 11, with a 3 p.m. tipoff at Transylvania University.
NOTES: The win ended a six-game skid for the Spartans … Manchester University has won six of the last nine against Franklin.