NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Manchester University battled past visiting Rose-Hulman on Wednesday night, earning a hard-fought 83-77 victory over the Fightin' Engineers in both teams' Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener. The win on Wednesday night was the Spartans' first victory over the Fightin' Engineers since January 2017.
Rose-Hulman jumped on the Spartans early on Wednesday night, gaining an 10-4 advantage four minutes into the ballgame. The Spartans responded with a 9-2 run to grab a one-point lead, 13-12, at the 13:11 mark of the first half. The Fightin' Engineers went back in front by five, 21-16, following a free throw by Taylor Heil with 9:39 left in the opening period. Both teams remained gridlocked for nearly three minutes.
Senior Keiton Hall (Lansing, Mich./Williamston) broke the offensive drought for both teams and spurred a 12-2 Manchester run with a layup and a jumper. CJ Hampton (Hammond, Ind./Griffith) chipped in a jumper while Jalen Owens (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute North) converted a pair of free throws and Abdul Ogunnaike (Richton Park, Ill./Thornwood) buried a three-pointer.
Manchester led 32-30 at the break.
Both teams traded leads over the first 10 minutes of play in the second half, with neither side gaining more than a six-point advantage. A 9-2 flurry midway through the second half put the Spartans ahead 55-48. Manchester would not trail the remainder of the game. A pair of Cortiz Buckner (West Lafayette, Ind./Lafayette Jefferson) pushed gave MU its largest lead of the game with 7:37 left to play.
Rose-Hulman managed to push the Spartans down the stretch, clawing back to within three points, 77-74, with just over a minute left in the game.
The Spartans broke Rose-Hulman's full court pressure and Cortiz Buckner found DeMoines Whitney (Detroit, Mich./Western International) open for a layup push the score to 79-74. After an RHIT misfire, the Spartans secured the rebound and Keiton Hall iced the game with a pair of free throws.
Hall knocked down five three-points and finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Spartans. CJ Hampton posted his fifth career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. DeMoines Whitney finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. Cortiz Buckner also contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
The Spartans were boosted by the bench play of Jalen Owens. Owens finished with a career-high 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 shooting from the foul line. Owens chipped in a career-high four assists and was active defensively.
RHIT was led by Craig McGee's 21 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
Manchester shot 50% (28-of-56) from the field and knocked down 11 three-pointers. Rose-Hulman was held to 31-of-74 (41.9%) shooting for the game.
Manchester improved to 3-3 on the season and sits 1-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The Fightin' Engineers fell to 2-5, 0-1 HCAC on the year.
Manchester will travel to Hanover College on Saturday December 7 for its next contest. Game time against the Panthers is set for 3 p.m.