HANOVER, IND. – An undeterred team spirit continued for Manchester University in many ways Friday, Feb. 24.
The Spartans kept their 2016-17 season alive with a third straight do-or-die victory, this time occurring in the quarterfinals of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships. Senior guard Tyler Alexander (Indianapolis, Ind.) made the most of every one of his eight points and seven rebounds which included a driving run to the rack and getting through three Anderson University defenders for the eventual game-winning bucket with only five seconds left. The 78-77 lead held up as the Black and Gold defense forced a tough one-on-one attempt and missed shot at the buzzer.
A program-first conference tournament win since 2011 was sparked by a steady 51.6 percent shooting effort from the field that overcame 17 turnovers. As has been the case throughout the current three-game win skein, Coach Gerad Good's team received efforts from numerous individuals, as junior forward/center Enis Becirevic (Fort Wayne, Ind.), having been thrust into the paint spotlight due to injuries down the stretch, tallied 17 points and nine boards; sophomore guard Adrian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) upped his double-digit scoring string to six straight with 16 to go with two assists and two steals; and freshman guard Erik Bell (Evansville, Ind.) recorded multiple assists for the 16th time in his last 17 games with five to go with 11 points and two steals.
The victory, MU's first over its league rivals since the 2015-16 campaign, moved the Spartans (10-16) into the semifinal round where they face second-seeded Mt. St. Joseph University at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Hanover College's Collier Arena. A win would propel them into the championship game Sunday, Feb. 26.