NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University head coach Brad Nadborne had known the type of performance that the home team gave the crowd inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena Saturday, Jan. 17, was lurking near the surface.
Behind a hard-nosed 40-minute outing, the Spartans (3-12 overall, 2-6 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) overcame a pair of eight-point deficits and took off on a game-deciding 18-5 run from the 7:16 to 1:18 marks of the second half in route to a 74-73 win over visiting Hanover College (8-7, 5-3 HCAC).
"We put together 40 good minutes today," Nadborne said. "Our staff had seen this type of effort over the previous two games with close-knit losses. This time, we made some shots down the stretch that hadn't gone our way previously.
"I'm very happy (for the team)," he added. "We received strong efforts, especially from (junior forward) Matt (Brown of Hobart, Ind.) and (sophomore guard) Chase (Casteel of Monrovia, Ind.). Their first half totals weren't what they had wanted so we talked positively at halftime about having them each step it up a little more, and they sure did."
Brown, after going one-of-three from the field in the first 20 minutes, unleashed a remarkable second half. The junior, piecing together the program's first 30-point-plus contest of the season and since January of last year, hit 12-of-16 shot attempts, which included three treys and was a perfect three-of-three at the charity stripe for 30 points in 18 minutes to close a 32-point contest.
"We just went out, played competitively and had fun," he said with a large smile. "The team had been looking towards this stretch of playing four of our next five at home with having good chances to win each time out. This is a start … we have to keep working together and improving going forward."
Casteel added a pretty decent second half effort. As part of his 15-point game, he scored 12 points, hitting two three-pointers and going a perfect four-of-four at the free throw line. Freshman guard Brody Kirby (Frankfort, Ind.) added 11 points.
The Black and Gold wrap up the first half of the 2014-15 HCAC campaign Wednesday, Jan. 21. They host Bluffton University of Ohio for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
NOTES: Brown's 32-point evening closed out an impressive week. He tallied 53 points on 21-of-32 shooting to take his scoring average to 16.5 points per contest, a jump of nearly two points from the 14.6 average he took into the period … Casteel reeled off his fourth successive double-digit effort and, like Brown, registered a career single-game high … MU's win stopped a four-game Hanover win streak in the series and a season seven-game skid.