Manchester University looks to make the most of its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament berth since 2011 that begins Friday, Feb. 26.
Tourney details: All games are set for Defiance College of Ohio's Karl H. Weaner Center … Tipoff time is 6 p.m. between the fifth-seeded Spartans and fourth-seeded Rose-Hulman Friday. It's the opener of a quarterfinal round twinbill, as third-seeded Hanover College battles sixth-seeded Transylvania University at 8 p.m. … Quarterfinal round winners advance to the semifinals Saturday, Feb. 27, as the MU-Rose-Hulman victor takes on top-seeded Defiance at 5 p.m. and the Hanover-Transylvania winner faces off against second-seeded Mt. St. Joseph University at 7 p.m. The two semifinal advancees meet at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament on the line … Live audio, statistics and video for Friday's contest are available via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: The Black and Gold take a 13-12 record to DC. The two previous match-ups with the Fightin' Engineers have been barnburners, as Manchester University won at Terre Haute 79-75 in early January and Rose-Hulman edged them 77-75 at North Manchester less than two weeks ago … Recent series history, dating back to 2004-05, has Rose maintaining a slight 9-7 advantage. Friday marks the first meeting between the two schools in the conference tourney annals … Coach Gerad Good's squad, winners of three of their last four, are guided by a balanced attack. Freshman guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) has been one of the key individuals this season, as he tops the squad in scoring (18.3 points per contest), steals (1.9 pg) and assists (3.6 pg) of which his scoring efforts are third best and his steal numbers lead the HCAC. He's just 23 points shy of setting a new MU freshman season standard, too. Another underclassman, sophomore forward/center Enis Becrievic (Fort Wayne, Ind.), is the conference leader in field goal percentage, as he converts at a meteoric 64 percent clip due in large part to compiling a 50 percent or better shooting performance in eight of his last 10 apperarances. The upperclassman quartet of senior guard Brady Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.), senior forward Matt Brown (Hobart, Ind.) and junior guards Blake Brouwer (Elkhart, Ind.) and Chase Casteel (Monrovia, Ind.) has also helped aid in the Spartans' success. Dolezal is second on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg), steals (28), assists (56) and field goal percentage (54.1) and is also in the top three in rebounding (4.6 pg). He became the program's 28th member of the 1,000-point club earlier this month, as his 1,042 career points rank 27th. Brown is the conference's top three-point shooter in regards to conversion rate (52.2 percent) and enters the tourney on a roll, averaging 23 points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal in his last two outings which include a single-game career high 34 points at Transylvania Feb. 20 that helped clinch the tourney berth. Brouwer, the squad's shot block leader (19), ranks fifth in the conference in the category and is second on the team in rebounding (5.2 pg), and Casteel is the top glass cleaner for the Spartans, averaging 5.3 per game, while also having the ability to make a splash from outside hitting on 33 of 95 three-point attempts … Looking further on the roster, the underclassman tandem of sophomore guard Brody Kirby (Frankfort, Ind.) and freshman forward/center Evan Romie (Anna, Ohio) is playing integral roles of late, too. Kirby's averaging 13 points, three assists and two rebounds during his last two appearances which includes hitting 66.7 percent from the field, and Romie has seen his points per game numbers spike better than one (2.3-3.4) over the last four contests due to a stat line that features averages of eight points, just under two assists and a steal, and two rebounds to go along with a 60 percent three-point and overall field goal accuracy rate in the span.