LEXINGTON, KY. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced
to the championship game of the 2012 Heartland Collegiate Athletic
Conference Men's Basketball Tournament with a 59-56 victory over
Hanover College on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman will face top seeded Transylvania
University for the right to advance to the NCAA Division III
Tournament on Sunday at 2.
Junior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville,
Ohio/Arcanum) came off the bench to lead a balanced
scoring attack with 13 points.
Junior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton
Heights) added 11 points, and senior Blake Knotts
(Louisville, Ky./Christian) also reached double figures
with 10 points.
Rose-Hulman shot 35% from the field in the victory but hit 10-12
free throws in a tightly contested second half to earn the
win. Hanover rallied from a 10-point deficit at 40-30 by
scoring six straight points and moving to within 40-36 with
Hanover trimmed the margin to three points at 46-43, but a key
three-pointer by Knotts put Rose-Hulman ahead 49-43 at the one
Hanover closed to within three points at 57-54 with 11 seconds
left. Strickland hit one of two free throws to push
Rose-Hulman's lead to 58-54, but Tim Bass scored on a layup with
three seconds left to make the score 58-56.
Strickland hit one of two free throws with 0.3 seconds left to
push Rose-Hulman's lead to 59-56 and a desperation full court shot
fell short at the buzzer as the Engineers advanced.
Rose-Hulman improved to 19-8 on the season for its most wins in
a season since the 2003-04 campaign. The Fightin' Engineers
also advance to a conference tournament championship round for the
first time since the 1997-98 and would advance to the NCAA Division
III Tournament for the first time since 1999 with a win on
#1 in the nation for 15 years!
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