NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Manchester Spartans earned a hard-fought win on Wednesday night, defeating NAIA-member Aquinas College 85-77 in non-conference action.
Manchester and Aquinas battled in the first half, with both teams shooting a high percentage from the floor. The Spartans stretched a first-half lead out to nine, 28-19, with just under six minutes left to play in the opening period following a Jalmen Sullivan (Kankakee, Ill. / St. Anne) layup in transition. The Saints, however, would surge late in the first period and end the half on a 20-4 run. Manchester trailed 39-32 at the intermission. Sullivan had 12 points in the first half. Aquinas shot 15-30 (50.0%) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. The Spartans shot 12-25 (48%) in the opening period.
The Spartans trailed by as much as seven early in the second half before a 14-2 run swung the game's momentum in favor of Manchester. The run was capped by a one-handed dunk by Jalmen Sullivan in transition that brought the crowd inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena to its feet. Manchester would not relinquish the lead the remainder of the contest. MU built its largest lead of 11 with 35 seconds left in regulation.
For the game, Manchester shot 28-50 (56%) from the field. The Spartans made good use of the foul line, sinking 23 of 29 attempts, good for a 79.3% clip. Aquinas College finished 29-58 from the floor, good for 50.0%.
Senior point guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind. / Fall Creek) filled the stat sheet for the Spartans, finishing with a game-high 29 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. Both Cornell Hampton (Griffith, Ind. / Griffith) and Jalmen Sullivan finished with 14 points. Manchester's bench outscored Aquinas 41-27 in the contest.
The win on Wednesday improved Manchester to 3-5 on the season. Aquinas fell to 2-10. The Spartans will return to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday, December 15 against Rose-Hulman. Tip-off against the Fightin' Engineers is scheduled for 5 p.m. following the conclusion of the women's basketball game.