TERRE HAUTE, IND. -
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology clinched a bid to the Heartland
Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with a 65-55 men's
basketball victory over Bluffton University on
The Engineers won their 16th game of the season and
improved to 10-6 in conference play to secure one of the six spots
in the postseason tournament that takes place Feb.
Freshman Julian Strickland
(Indianapolis/Pike) led four players in double figures
with a career-high 18 points on 6-10 from the field and 5-5 from
the foul line.
Freshman James Pillischafske (Louisville,
Ky./Male) added four three-point field goals for 12
points. Sophomores Jon Gerken (Defiance,
Ohio/Tinora) and Austin Weatherford
(Cicero/Hamilton Heights) added 11 points each.
Sophomore Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale
County) came off the bench with eight points, three
rebounds and three assists.
Mychal Hill led the Bluffton offense with 24 points and
was the lone Beaver to reach double figures on the
Bluffton led a tightly contested first half by a 30-28
margin at the break. The Beavers shot 41% from the field and
held the Engineers to just 33% in the opening 20 minutes. The
first half featured five ties and four lead changes.
In the second half, Rose-Hulman shot 65% from the field to
overcome Bluffton and secure its HCAC Tournament bid.
Bluffton held a pair of six-point leads at 34-28 and 36-30, before
five straight points from Strickland brought Rose-Hulman within
37-36 at the 15:27 mark.
Bluffton again built a six-point advantage at 45-39 on a
three-pointer by Josh Johnson at the 13:38 mark. The
Engineers rallied back to knot the score at 45-45 on a jumper by
Gerken with 9:06 left.
Rose-Hulman continued its spurt with a 19-5 run over the
next seven minutes to solidify the win. Two layups by Gerken,
a three-pointer by Weatherford and a score by Gissentanner
propelled the rally.
Rose-Hulman improved to 16-7 overall and 10-6 in HCAC
play, while Bluffton dropped to 14-9 and 7-9 in conference
games. The Engineers travel to Hanover on Wednesday at 7:30