NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University showed plenty of resiliency in front of a crowd of over 400 fans at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena Saturday, Jan. 30.
Battling Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader Mt. St. Joseph, the Spartans nearly climbed all the way out of an 18-point deficit, cutting a once 62-44 cushion for the visitors with 7:59 left to three (72-69) with 22 seconds left. After a press-breaker attempt for the Lions wound up with a turnover, MU had the ball with 18 seconds remaining and a chance to tie the contest up.
Enter MSJ senior guard Joel Scudder. Just as he had done through the afternoon in route to a 30-point outing, he registered a big play, picking away a pass near the half-court line and racing in for a game-deciding lay-up which closed out a hard-fought 74-69 decision for the visitors.
The Spartans' Matt Brown was nearly step for step with Scudder, as the Hobart, Ind., native finished with 22 points due to a perfect seven-for-seven effort from the free throw line and three three-point baskets. Senior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.) also found himself in double figures, tallying 12 points.
MU, dipping to 10-9 overall and 7-5 in the conference, begins a critical two-game road swing Wednesday, Feb. 3. They travel to Bluffton University for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
NOTES: The freshman combination of guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) and forward/center Mbaye Samb (Brooklyn, N.Y.) were next in the scoring column for the Spartans. They both ended with eight points, as Samb canned a pair of three-pointers that helped fuel MU's late rally and Johnson also grabbed three rebounds … Brown recorded his second 20-point-plus contest and resumed a modest streak of three straight double-figure scoring games … With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Black and Gold remain a part of the league's postseason tournament landscape. They're part of a tie for fifth with Anderson University, just a game separated from a three-way logjam between Rose-Hulman, Defiance and Hanover.