MU, Hanover battle in HCAC cliffhanger
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – For the second time this season, Manchester University and Hanover battled to the wire in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday, Jan. 26.
Coach Josh Dzurick's Spartans dropped a 68-65 decision to the visiting Panthers but gave the current HCAC co-second place sharers all they could want and more inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena. MU (7-12, 6-6 HCAC) jumped out early by scoring 22 of the game's first 36 points. Hanover (15-4, 9-3 HCAC) responded by closing the opening frame on a 15-4 run to lead 29-26 at halftime.
The visitors continued to hold their lead throughout the second half, increasing it to as much as eight. However, the Black and Gold kept battling back at each turn, including in the final 1:47. Behind the long-range shooting of freshman guard Hannah Field (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore guard Jaimie Childress (Indianapolis, Ind.), MU cut the deficit all the way down to 66-65 with three seconds left. Hanover canned two free throws on their possession, and Childress got a good look at a long three-pointer that fell off to end the game.
Field led the Black and Gold with 12 points equaling a single-game season high. Childress added 11 and grabbed seven rebounds. Other statistical leaders for the Spartans were sophomore center Alyssa Hammond (Ossian, Ind.) with nine rebounds, part of a 43-32 lead on the boards, and sophomore guard Jocelyn Hamilton (Columbus, Ind.) with three steals and three assists.
Manchester University continues conference play Wednesday, Jan. 30 with a 7:30 p.m. start at Defiance.
NOTES: Field's double-digit outing continued a solid recent run of play. Her points per game average is up eight-tenths (5.6-6.4) over the last three games, and she's hit at least one three-point basket in five straight with multiples four times. … Hammond's nine boards were a personal single-game season high. … Hamilton's assists' total continued a run of four straight multiple-assist games for the sophomore.