RICHMOND, IND. – Manchester University, withstanding a furious second half rally from host Earlham College, kept itself unbeaten in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday, Dec. 7.
The Spartans (3-3 overall, 2-0 HCAC), wrapping up a 2-0 week with their second straight league road victory, scored 21 of the game's first 29 points and built the advantage to as much as 19 in the first half. Earlham (2-4, 1-1 HCAC) battled back late in the first half, trimming the deficit to 10 at the break (39-29).
The Quakers continued to surge in the second 20 minutes and overtook their guests with a 48-47 lead with just under five minutes left. However, MU answered with a key 8-2 run at that point and didn't trail the rest of the way en route to a 61-57 win.
Free throws turned out to be a big key. The Spartans made one less charity shot then Earlham attempted (22-23) which included going 10 of 12 in the final 4:23. MU's fast start was aided by strong field goal shooting, as the Black and Gold went 13 of 25 (52 percent) which included drilling three-pointers at a 60 percent clip (three-for-five) in the first 20 minutes.
Senior forward Erynn Meiklejohn (Fort Wayne, Ind.) led the points' chart with 17. She also blocked two EC shot attempts and picked up two steals. Junior guard Alyssa Smith (Bluffton, Ind.) and junior forward Abby Lang (Indianapolis, Ind.) were just off double-figure pace with nine points each. Junior center Alyssa Hammond (Osgood, Ind.) had another good outing on the boards, pulling down a team-high eight rebounds to lead a 34-28 Spartans' edge.
Manchester University wraps up a three-game league road swing Saturday, Dec. 14. They go to Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind., for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
NOTES: MU won for the sixth time in the last seven games against Earlham in the series … The victory put them into a tie for first with defending league champion Transylvania University on the conference standings.