Manchester University's 101st season on the hardwood opens tonight (Monday, Nov. 16), as the NCAA Division III Spartans face off against NCAA Division I Summit League member Indiana University – Purdue University – Fort Wayne.
Game details: Tipoff is approximately 7:30 p.m. at IPFW's Gates Sports Center … Fans, friends and alumni can tune in to live audio and video via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … It's the 11th meeting all-time between the Black and Gold and Mastodons with IPFW holding a 6-4 edge behind five consecutive victories. A year ago, IPFW broke away late in the first half in route to a 15-point halftime advantage as part of a 74-50 victory.
Spartan Shorts: First-year head coach Gerad Good leads MU on to the floor for the first time this evening. "There's been a lot of changes thrown at the guys in regards to technique and terminology for what myself and (assistant) Coach (Mason) Wood do," he noted. "Things have been very competitive in practices and so on. We've been working on being consistent and playing and working hard every day." … The Spartans, picked ninth on the preseason Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches poll, return their top four scorers from 2014-15 in senior forward Matt Brown (Hobart, Ind.), senior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.), junior forward Chase Casteel (Monrovia, Ind.) and junior guard Blake Brouwer (Elkhart, Ind.). "I've been pleased with what I've seen from this group leadership-wise," Good said. "We've been pushing the entire squad … taking individuals out of their comfort zone with what we do … but the returners have been doing a good job of bringing the underclassmen along with them in understanding the ideas as it's new to everyone. They're very engaged within the team." … Casteel was tabbed honorable mention all-league a year ago due to an incredible stretch run in which he reeled off 13 double-digit scoring totals in his last 14 contests which included five 20-points-or-more efforts. His 11.8 points per game placed him third on the squad, scoring-wise, behind Brown's 17 points per contest and Dolezal's 13.9 points per outing. Brown has eclipsed 500 career points in just two seasons at MU due, in large part, to 52 made three-pointers and 390 points as a junior, while Dolezal has compiled 695 in three years at North Manchester which includes back-to-back 250-or-more point totals as a sophomore and junior. Brouwer adds to the mix with back-to-back 200-or-more point campaigns as a freshman and sophomore and has been strong from beyond the arc hitting 59 three-pointers over two seasons … Looking further on the roster, sophomore guard Brody Kirby (Frankfort, Ind.) started 13 of 24 games played as a freshman. He registered just shy of 200 points (179) for the 2014-15 team and was one of their top field goal shooters, accuracy-wise, hitting at 44.3 percent. The sophomore forward duo of Chandler Mynhier (Howe, Ind.) and Tanner Forsythe (Frankfort, Ind.) also chipped in playing time for the Black and Gold last winter with Mynhier appearing in 11 games and Forsythe getting on the floor in seven contests to go along with senior guard Brock Armstrong (Logansport, Ind.) who started one game and played in 19 with 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals that accompanied 29 points scored and junior guard Connor MacDonald (Peru, Ind.) who worked his way through injuries his first two seasons to earn court time last year … "This will be a good test for us," Good said of the opener. "We'll need to adjust to their speed and quickness. We've been working on playing fast and staying under control to assimilate what everyone will see (at IPFW). The main thing is that we can't be worry about what they'll do and focus on what we want to accomplish." … Monday's season starter begins a rugged stretch out of the gate for MU. The Spartans follow up the meeting with the Mastodons by hosting Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe Olivet College Wednesday, Nov. 18 and then welcoming National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' traditional power Indiana University – Northwest to Stauffer-Wolfe Arena Saturday, Nov. 21. "We want to stress to our guys that this is what we want to be doing … playing teams of this caliber early to get us ready for the conference schedule," Good said. "If we want to meet the goals we've set (for the season), it starts with this type of situation and how we work through it."
Home Openers: Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. against the Comets and 5 p.m. against the RedHawks Wednesday and Saturday.