NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A topsy-turvy Heartland College Athletic Conference – Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association battle between Manchester University and visiting Kalamazoo College spotlighted day one of the 2014 HCAC – MIAA Challenge Saturday, Nov. 29.
Kalamazoo, picking up its first 2014-15 victory, held off a late surge from the host Spartans (1-3) for a 63-58 decision. Sophomore guard Blake Brouwer (Elkhart, Ind.) dropped in a team-high 17 points for the Black and Gold, while junior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.) added 13 points.
Brouwer just missed his first collegiate 20-point-plus finish. With the home side trailing Kzoo 59-56, senior guard Caleb Jackson (New Castle, Ind.), completing a strong afternoon on the boards with eight rebounds, cleared a missed free throw with 27 seconds left. Jackson fed the sophomore in the left corner, where Brouwer's attempt hit the left side of the rim and hopped over. Kalamazoo converted four successive free throws, from that point, to seal the decision.
MU got out of the gate quickly in front of its home crowd inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena. The Spartans scored 10 of the first 14 points and didn't trail in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 23-16 halftime edge. Kalamazoo answered the bell just as fast in the second frame, hitting at a sizzling 59.3 percent rate from the field which gave them as large as a 10-point cushion. The home side then closed as close as three, setting up the frenetic final minute.
The Spartans close out action in the HCAC-MIAA Challenge Sunday, Nov. 30. In-state rival Trine University, a 66-40 winner over Earlham College, faces off with them at 3 p.m. Kalamazoo and Earlham open the day at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Dolezal recorded double digits for the 16th time in his last 17 games … Brouwer's 17 points, a personal single-game career high, marked the 12th time he's tallied scoring double figures.