The final two weeks of the 2016-17 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference calendar progress Saturday, Feb. 11.
Game details: Manchester University takes a southern trek to Rose-Hulman's Hulbert Arena in Terre Haute, Ind., for a 4 p.m. tip-off … Live audio, statistics and video are available via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … MU owns a slight 9-8 edge in recent series history which includes winning the first edition of the 2016-17 contests.
Spartan Shorts: Despite a run of four losses in its last five games, Manchester University (7-15 overall, 5-10 HCAC) remains tied for the sixth and final league postseason tournament slot with Bluffton University and Defiance College with three games to play … The Spartans nearly turned recent fortunes around at Anderson University Feb. 8. They gave the Ravens all they could handle and more on their home O.C. Lewis Gymnasium before falling 79-76. The senior-sophomore guard duo of Tyler Alexander (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) guided Coach Gerad Good's team with sparkling efforts. Alexander, registering his third 30-point-plus effort of the season and second in his last four appearances, tallied a double-double. Making life tough on the home team's paint defense throughout, Alexander hit 11-of-15 field goals, was nine of 10 at the free throw line and dished off an assist and picked off a steal to go with his 31-point, 10-rebound outing, good for his fourth double-double of the season. Johnson was just as tough for AU to solve, tallying 29 points to go with two steals, an assist and seven rebounds. Other top numbers came from freshman guard Erik Bell (Evansville, Ind.) and senior guard Chase Casteel (Monrovia, Ind.). Bell was the team leader in assists (four) as was Casteel in blocked shots (six) … Alexander's night in Anderson, Ind., kept him firmly within the loop's top five in scoring (18.8 ppg – No. 4); rebounding (7.2 pg – No. 4) and field goal percentage (63.6 – No. 3). He is also seventh in steals (1.4 pg), a category that's led by Johnson (2.2 pg). Other MU players cohabitating the league's top 10 statistically are Bell (No. 3 – assists – 3.6 pg); Casteel (No. 4 – blocked shots – 1 pg); and Johnson in free throw percentage (No. 9 – 82.1) … Digging into individual player trends, Johnson has seen his season scoring jump eight-tenths (14.7-15.5) over his last three outings due to averaging 20.3 points per contest. A large share of that is due to hitting 25 of 29 free throw chances, good for an 86.2 percent clip. The sophomore also harbors a string of 17 straight games with at least one assist. Alexander has tallied double-digit points in five straight appearances, hit 50 percent or higher from the field in 15 successive contests and picked off a steal in 12 straight games. His scoring and rebounding season marks are up almost two full points (17-18.8 pg) and five-tenths of a rebound (6.7-7.2) due to producing 24 points and nine rebounds per attempt during his last five contests. Bell has a streak of 13 consecutive games with multiple assists.
Homestand Begins: Defiance College pays a visit to North Manchester for a conference doubleheader Wednesday, Feb. 15. Game times are 6 and 8 p.m.