BLUFFTON, OHIO – A late first half roll of eight successive points put Manchester University on the cusp of good results in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference battle at Bluffton University Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Reeling the host Beavers back in from what had once been a 14-point lead (33-19), the Black and Gold took advantage of four points from freshman guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.), a tip-in by sophomore forward/center Enis Becirevic (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and a bucket from senior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.) to forge their rally and go into the intermission trailing only 42-38. MU continued its comeback early in the second 20 minutes, trimming the deficit to three (46-43), but Bluffton responded in a big way going on a 16-6 stretch that pushed the lead back to 13 and helped guide the hosts to a 92-71 victory.
Dropping to 10-10 overall and 7-6 in the conference, the Spartans received double-figure scoring efforts from three players. Dolezal tossed in 20 on seven-of-10 field goal shooting to go with five rebounds, two blocked shots, two assists and a steal. Johnson was next in line with 19 points, as he canned a team-high two three-point baskets and dished out a team-leading five assists to add to his line, and Becirevic, coming off the bench in 22 minutes of play, tallied 14 points on six-of-eight field goal shooting and grabbed six rebounds.
The Spartans, sitting in a tie for sixth on the league standings with Transylvania University, resume a two-game road swing Saturday, Feb. 6. They take on Hanover College in a 5 p.m. tipoff inside Collier Arena.
NOTES: Dolezal's evening upped a modest double-digit points string to three straight. His per game average is up eight-tenths (12.8-13.6) in the span … Becirevic's night saw him record his six double-figure scoring output and eighth contest with five-or-more rebounds. He continues to be consistent in field goal accuracy, compiling his 15th appearance of 50 percent or better.