Rose-Hulman Falls to Wilmington 66-57 in Season Opener


StricklandFONTCLEVELAND, OHIO - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology placed three players in double figures but could not overcome Wilmington College in a tightly contested 66-57 opening night men's basketball loss on Friday. 

The margin never reached double figures in the defensive minded contest that served as the first semifinal game of the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Memorial Tournament at Case Western Reserve University.

Freshman Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) came off the bench to lead Rose-Hulman with 14 points.  Strickland finished 5-10 from the field with four rebounds.

Sophomores Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) and Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) scored 11 points each.  Gissentanner was 5-9 from the field with a team-high six rebounds.  Weatherford had a team-high five assists.

Junior Spencer Harlan (Terre Haute/South Vigo) added nine points on 4-4 from the field, and junior Jason Haslag (Linn, Mo./Helias Interparrish) added five points to the effort.

Wilmington jumped out to an early seven-point lead, before two straight baskets by Weatherford closed the margin to 11-9.

The Quakers pushed the lead to seven points at 32-25, but Rose-Hulman rallied with a 7-2 run to close within 34-32 at the break.  Three points from sophomore Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) and a layup at the buzzer by Weatherford off a Strickland steal provided the spark.

Rose-Hulman gained a three-point lead at 40-37 early in the second half on two straight scores by Gissentanner.  The score was tied at 43-43 and the teams battled with little margin again until a layup by Harlan put the Engineers ahead 50-49 with 9:26 left.

Wilmington answered with eight straight points, before Gissentanner drained a three-pointer to move the Engineers within 57-53 at the 6:35 mark.  The Quakers defensive effort turned into the story, holding Rose-Hulman to just one field goal in the last six minutes.

Wilmington improved to 2-0 overall, while Rose-Hulman stands 0-1.  The Fightin' Engineers square off against host Case Western University, who lost 57-55 to Washington & Jefferson on Friday, in the matchup.