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Men's Basketball Looks to Gain Momentum  
Matt Harter
Staff Writer

Manchester University men’s basketball began its 2012–2013 season on fire, winning three of its first four games, including a double-overtime win against Kalamazoo College. However, the team followed that up with three straight losses against Trine, Calvin and Hanover.

Despite those three losses, the team is still confident with how they’ve started the season. “I think it’s gone pretty well so far,” said Greg Flores, the Spartan’s leading scorer through the first seven games. “We are young this year and we have played some tough teams.” Manchester has five first-years, six sophomores and one senior.

One of the keys to this season for Manchester is Flores, who is entering his second season with the Spartans. “Coach kind of designated me as a scorer this year and so far, I have been doing that,” Flores said. “He also told me I need to step up on my rebounding and against Kalamazoo I had 13 rebounds.” So far this season, Flores has averaged 15.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Grabbing the rock after a missed shot isn’t something Flores alone needs to get better at. “I’d say our main focus right now as a team is rebounding and controlling the basketball, because recently we have played some teams that have a size advantage, which has been a problem for a smaller team like us,” said Jarod Schrock, a first-year from Logansport High School.

With a young roster, including five first-years, it will take awhile for the team to get into a groove because of the challenging transition from high school to college basketball. “The style of play is so much different and the game speed is a lot faster than it was in high school,” Schrock said. “I remember in high school, we ran a lot of set plays that usually would just get you that first basket and now it’s more of a transition and motion offense where you are constantly moving.”

Silas Sims, in his second season with Manchester, understands the struggles of transitioning to the college basketball sphere. “It’s a whole different type of game because you are playing against adult, grown men, who know the game, are stronger and run faster,” he said. “My freshman year was tough because I was trying to teach myself how to balance basketball and academics. I think last year having (Jordan) Moss, (Jason) Spindler and (Matt) Morris really helped us because they showed us the ropes and what it takes, and I think Moss did an excellent job with that.” Sims is the third leading scorer for the Spartans with 9.9 points per game and averages 5.7 rebounds, which leads Manchester.

The Spartans use a defense that requires crisp communication between players. “We play a man-to-man (defense) where we switch everything,” Flores said. “I’m 5’10’’ and I could end up on a 6’8’’ guy, so it gets hard down there (in the post), but we play help-side defense as well. When the ball is entered into the post, we always have guys that are guarding the wings sit in the middle and dig at the post to try to get them to pick up the ball and have to kick it out instead of making his post move. We’re just trying to make them do something they don’t want to.” The Spartans also employ a 3-2 zone defense when they make a shot.

It can be tough guarding a guy in the post that is 10 inches taller than you, but the Spartans understand they have each other’s back. “We know that Greg can guard a big guy down low, but I know that he always has trust in his other teammates that if the big guy is making a move one way, there is somebody that is going to be there,” Schrock said.

HCAC action continues tomorrow as the Spartans head to Kentucky to take on the Pioneers of Transylvania University. “They are a really good team that is senior-led and they have a lot of returning players,” Sims said. “I know their coach (Brian Lane) does a great job of getting them ready to play.”

Transylvania won the conference title last season and is picked to repeat. “As long as we stick to our plan of pushing the ball in transition, rebounding and not turning the ball over, I think it should be a good game,” Flores said.

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