CINCINNATI, OHIO - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology relied on its best defensive effort in seven seasons to top Mount St. Joseph 56-38 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday.
The 38 points allowed marked the fewest points scored by a Rose-Hulman opponent since the Fightin' Engineers defeated Millsaps College 65-38 during the 2003-04 season.
Junior Blake Knotts (Louisville, Ky./Christian) led a balanced Rose-Hulman scoring attack with 11 points on 5-6 from the free throw line.
Sophomores Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) and Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) joined freshman James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) with eight points each. Gerken also led the squad with four assists and tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds.
Sophomore Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) contributed seven points and also had seven rebounds for the Engineers.
Ben Haarman came off the bench to become the only Mount St. Joseph player in double figures with 11 points.
The two teams battled through a defensive minded first half that resulted in Rose-Hulman holding a 21-17 lead at the break. The largest lead in the opening 20 minutes was a five-point Engineer margin.
In the second half, Mount St. Joseph captured a 23-21 lead on a score by Clifford Cass at the 17:10 mark. The Engineers answered with a 15-2 run to capture an 11-point lead at 36-25 with 9:31 remaining. Knotts and Pillischafske buried three-pointers, before Gissentanner capped the run with three points.
Mount St. Joseph trimmed the margin to eight points at 40-32, but Rose-Hulman relied on three free throws by Gerken and two each from Knotts and Weatherford to gain a 47-36 lead. The Engineer defense then secured the victory by holding the Lions without a field goal for the final 6:38.
Rose-Hulman improved to 10-5 on the season and 4-4 in HCAC play, while Mount St. Joseph dropped to 3-12 overall and 1-7 in league matchups.
The Fightin' Engineers host No. 21 ranked and HCAC leading Hanover College on Wednesday in the annual Greek Night Game involving charitable contributions for local organizations sponsored by the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Rose-Hulman students attending the game in their Greek letters will receive free pizza and soft drinks, courtesy of Alpha Tau Omega.