TERRE HAUTE, IND. - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology placed four players in double figures and held off a Defiance College charge to earn a 74-66 men's basketball victory in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday.
Junior Blake Knotts (Louisville, Ky./Christian) paced the offensive attack with 20 points on five three-pointers and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.
Sophomore Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) added a balanced effort of 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Freshman Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) pitched in with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Junior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds against his hometown college for his second career double-double.
Junior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) provided support with seven points, three blocked shots and three steals off the bench.
The Engineer defense held Logan Wolfrum, the top scorer in the HCAC, to just seven points on 2-17 from the field. Anthony Brown scored 17 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Kyle Tietje compiled a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, with Leroy Lewis also reached double figures at 13 points.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a seven-point first half lead at 19-12, before Defiance tied the score with a 7-0 run. A layup by Balsbaugh and a three-pointer from Knotts pushed the lead to 26-21 at the 5:12 mark of the first half.
Defiance gained a one-point lead at 31-30, before Weatherford hit two free throws with three seconds left in the first half to give Rose-Hulman a 32-31 lead at the break.
In the second half, Rose-Hulman held Defiance without a point for 7:05 to turn a 38-37 lead into a 49-37 advantage at the 10:22 mark. The balanced attack featured a three-pointer from Knotts, three points from Balsbaugh and Strickland, and a score from Weatherford.
Defiance charged back to within one point at 55-54 on a three-pointer by Brown at the 5:34 mark. Rose-Hulman answered the run with two layups from Weatherford, another trey by Knotts and two free throws from Strickland to gain a 64-54 advantage.
Defiance closed within five points down the stretch, but four late free throws by Gerken secured Rose-Hulman's fifth consecutive victory.
With the win, Rose-Hulman is tied atop the HCAC standings and continues its best start to a season since the 2003-04 squad began the year with a 6-1 mark.
The Engineers stand 5-1 overall and 2-0 in HCAC play with the victory. Defiance stands 3-3 and 1-1 in league contests. The Engineers travel to Earlham College for the John Mutchner Cup Game on Wednesday night at 7:30.