Story written with assistance from Luke Parker, Manchester University sports information assistant
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A white-knuckling ride for a crowd of nearly 400 fans at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena went down to the final moments Saturday, Feb. 13.
The host Spartans of Manchester University and visiting Rose-Hulman went back and forth throughout the evening in a critical Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference match-up for both sides. The Black and Gold (11-12 overall, 8-8 HCAC) rallied from as large as a nine-point deficit midway through the second half and had a possession with just 12 seconds remaining to tie the game up. However, a pair of inside shot looks rimmed out with the buzzer sounding in a hard-fought 77-75 decision for the Fightin' Engineers (14-9 overall, 11-5 HCAC).
While few may remember senior guard Brady Dolezal's second basket of the contest, it made program history, as he became the 28th member of the 1,000-point club during an afternoon when he contributed 17 points, three rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. "I'm really proud of (Brady) being able to reach that level," Coach Gerad Good said. "Overall, the team fought hard. I wouldn't have changed anything to the game plan we put together."
Freshman guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.), continuing a string of four successive double-figure scoring games and five of the last six outings in which he's tallied 19-points-or-more, was the squad's point leader (23) to go with six assists and three rebounds. Junior guard Chase Casteel added his name to the double-digit category with 12 points, thanks to two three-pointers, as part of a line that included two blocked shots, a steal, two assists and three rebounds. Senior forward Matt Brown (Hobart, Ind.), joining Dolezal and guard Keith Berry (Chicago, Ill.) in appearing in their final regular season home tilt, was just off the pace, tallying nine points to go with a team-high six rebounds and co-team high two steals, while freshman forward/center Evan Romie (Ana, Ohio) continued his impressive recent play with eight points on a perfect performance from the field overall (three-for-three) and beyond the arc (two-for-two).
MU moves into the final week of the 2015-16 conference campaign just a game out of the top six slots needed to qualify for the postseason tournament. A two-game road trip begins Wednesday, Feb. 17, with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Defiance College.
NOTES: Dolezal is the first Spartans' player since Jamaal Wade (2004-08) to reach quadruple career digits … Johnson's statistical importance doesn't stop in the scoring column. He's got a run of four successive outings of five-or-more assists, too … Romie's seen his season points shoot up nine-tenths (2.1-3) over the last three games. He's averaging better than seven points per appearance in the span.