NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A strong start to the second half took Manchester University to the verge of overtaking Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leading Mt. St. Joseph University Saturday, Feb. 14, but a key 15-4 run from the 11:30 to 6:55 marks helped guide the visiting Lions to a 75-57 victory.
After the visitors scored 21 of the first 30 points inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena, MU (5-18 overall, 4-12 HCAC) started to ebb away at the deficit. A pair of free throws from sophomore guard Chase Casteel (Monrovia, Ind.) dropped the disadvantage to nine late in the first half. The Spartans, much to the delight of their home fans, used that momentum over the first section of the second half, highlighted by a 15-2 skein that dropped the deficit to as little as one (46-45) with 12:19 left. From that point, MSJ propelled themselves back out to as large as a 19-point edge.
Casteel's afternoon was a dandy one. He finished with 25 points, five rebounds and an assist, hitting on 14-of-15 free throw attempts in the process. Junior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.) and senior guard Caleb Jackson (New Castle, Ind.) were next on the scoring charts with eight and seven points, respectively. Sophomore guard Blake Brouwer (Elkhart, Ind.), despite a tough shooting afternoon that left him with four points, did grab a team-high six rebounds and blocked two MSJ shot attempts.
MU concludes its 2014-15 home campaign Wednesday, Feb. 18. Defiance College visits North Manchester for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
NOTES: The Spartans struggled from the field overall and outside the arc, hitting at just a 33.3 percent clip in both areas. On the other bench, Mt. St. Joseph was torrid in the first and second halves, going at a 55.2 percent rate in the first half and at 60 percent in the second stanza … Casteel's 14 successful charity tosses were the most in a game for an MU player since Jon Thompson hit the same number last January against Earlham … Casteel produced his fourth 20-point-plus contest in his last eight appearances, as his season points average rose to 11 per game.