NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Earlham won a tightly contested game on the road against HCAC-foe Manchester University by a final score of 91-86 on Saturday December 9.
Darrell Hutchison Jr. started the game with a jump shot and Earlham got out to 10-9 lead six minutes into the contest. Play through much of the first half was tight as neither team gained a significant advantage as the lead changed hands numerous times. Earlham built its largest lead of the first half of six points at the 12:21 mark, 17-11, following a jump shot from Hutchison Jr. The Spartans used a big 13-1 run to gain their biggest lead of the first half, taking an eight-point advantage over Earlham at the 9:36 mark.
The Quakers and Spartans picked up the offense in the final minutes of the opening period and Earlham cut Manchester's lead down to just two points, 44-42, following a jumper from Kenneth Stalling Jr.
Manchester led by no more than three points in the second half and Earlham used timely baskets to outscore the Spartans 49-42 in the second period to earn the win. The Quakers took a 10-point lead with just under six minutes left in regulation following a pair of free-throws from Tarig Eldosougi.
The Spartans clawed their way back into the game and made things interesting late. Earlham led by just one point, 85-84, following a pair of layups by Manchester's Adrian Johnson. Darrell Hutchison Jr. made a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game, 87-84, with 54 seconds left in the game, but Manchester answered with a layup of their own to keep the game close. Austin Doliboa made a pair of free throws with 19 ticks left on the clock and Manchester's game-tying attempt was no good. Earlham cleared the rebound and Elijah Wilson-Thomas made a pair of clutch free throws with two seconds left to clinch Earlham's first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory of the season.
For the game, the Quakers shot 50.8% (33-65) from the floor, including 45.5% (5-11) from downtown. Earlham College made good use of the foul line, sinking 20 of 26 (76.9%) attempts in the contest. The Quakers also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Manchester University 42-27.
EC was led by Elijah Wilson-Thomas' 28 points. Wilson-Thomas made 5 of 8 three-point field goal attempts and went 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Wilson-Thomas also added five rebounds and three assists. Austin Doliboa also scored 20 points in the win, making 7 of 9 field goal attempts and converting 6 of 8 free throw attempts. He added nine rebounds as well. Darrell Hutchison Jr. added 16 points and five boards and Chainey Zolman finished with a double double, scoring 13 points and hauling in 12 boards.
The win improved Earlham to 3-5 and 1-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play this year. Manchester fell to 1-7 and 0-3 HCAC. Earlham will have a week to prepare for Mount St. Joseph. The Quakers will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio on December 16 for a 4 p.m. tipoff with the Lions.