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Oak Leaves

February 26, 2016

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DRIBBLE Senior Brady Dolezal moves the ball down the court in the Senior Day match-up against Rose-Hulman.

Men's Spartan Basketball Ends Season at Home

Guerby Ruuska

It was a day full of tears for Spartan basketball. However, they were not as much tears of sadness as they were tears of memories and accomplishments when the Manchester men’s basketball team gathered in the Stauffer-Wolfe Arena on Saturday, February 20, for a senior day thriller.

MU had a chance to go into overtime against Rose-Hulman when the ball was passed to senior Matt Brown, who fell just a little short.

“I felt a lot of emotions,” Brown said. “I was disappointed in myself for missing the put back to tie the game. I was extremely sad to walk away from Stauffer-Wolfe Arena.” 

The 77-75 loss was a sad one for the Spartans, but it was clear that MU basketball was heading into the right direction.

“We are a lot more competitive this year than last,” Brown said. ‘We were always competitive, but this year we have a drive to win and that stems from our head coach. He drives us to be more than average. He demands it.”

The loss could not put a damper on the celebration for the three senior players—Brown, a physical education major from Hobart, Ind., Keith Berry, a communication studies major from Chicago, Ill., and Brady Dolezal, a sport management major from Tipton, Ohio.

Indeed, the celebration went beyond that final home game into potential Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference inclusion against Transylvania last Friday. “Going into the game it was win or go home,” Brown said. “We had to win in order to make the conference tournament. Being the competitor that I am and my thirst for basketball, there is nothing like going into a game with such stipulations on the line. It was awesome to be one as a team and thrive under that type of game.”

Dolezal cites Friday’s match, when the team “clinched a berth in the conference tourney” as his favorite Manchester basketball moment. “It was cool to see the team come together and accomplish one of our goals we set at the beginning of the year,” he said. 

Brown looks to the coming tournament philosophically. “This past weekend, we as a Manchester Community suffered losses of three students due to an accident,” he said. “That loss puts into perspective what is bigger than just basketball.” 

Yet he also looks forward to what the tournament can bring to the university.  “The men’s basketball hasn't played in the tournament since they won it in 2011,” he said. “We are the class that did that. More importantly, this tournament gives us a chance to bring some joy to an amazing community that is looking for something to believe in.”

Berry's favorite moment of his basketball career took place even farther from home--in Canada, during his junior year. "I loved getting the chance to go out of the country," he said. "Playing basketball at Manchester has meant a lot to me because it has helped me develop life-long friendships with people I can count on to have my back."