LEXINGTON, KY. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time since 1999 with a 76-73 overtime victory over No. 16 ranked Transylvania University on Sunday.
Rose-Hulman will learn its NCAA Tournament destination on Monday at noon when the bracket selection show is broadcast on ncaa.com.
Rose-Hulman led 71-68 with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, before a missed free throw gave Transylvania a chance to extend the game. Ashley Hatfield buried a 28-foot three-pointer with five seconds left to knot the score at 71-71.
Following a Rose-Hulman turnover, Transylvania had one last possession with 2.2 seconds remaining. Ethan Spurlin missed a well-defended 18-foot jumper at the buzzer to move the game into overtime.
In the overtime, Transylvania took a 73-71 on two free throws, before sophomore Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) tied the score at 73-73 with two free throws of his own at the 1:58 mark. Junior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) put Rose-Hulman ahead for good at 75-73 with a drive down the lane with 1:00 left.
Hatfield missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer for Transylvania with 48 seconds left, and the Engineers missed a potential game clinching shot on their next possession. Sophomore Jordy Martin (New Albany) was fouled on the play and hit one of two free throws to give Rose-Hulman a 76-73 lead.
Transylvania had one more chance to force an overtime with 3.7 seconds left. Rash tried a 29-foot shot from straight on at the buzzer that fell short, and the Rose-Hulman bench erupted with its first conference tournament championship since 1998.
Strickland was named tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 30 points on 10-16 from the field and 5-5 from three-point range. He became the first Fightin' Engineer to score 30 points in a game since Ron George accomplished the feat in 2008.
Weatherford joined Strickland on the all-tournament team after scoring 15 points with seven rebounds and four assists. Junior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) pitched in with a season-high 17 points and six rebounds to balance the scoring attack.
Barrett Meyer scored 23 points, including 21 in the first half, to help Transylvania build a 37-29 lead at the break. Rash scored 16 points with eight rebounds, and Spurlin added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Transylvania.
Rose-Hulman shot 56% from the field for the game, including 65% during the second half to force the game into overtime. The big rally occurred out of the locker room to start the second half, when Rose-Hulman scored 16 points in 3:17 to turn an eight-point halftime deficit into a 45-41 lead on a three-pointer by Martin.
The Engineers built a pair of four-point leads in the second half, on scores by Gerken and two free throws by Strickland. Transylvania answered to regain the lead at 63-61 on a score by Spurlin at the 3:58 mark.
Strickland answered with a three-pointer to put Rose-Hulman ahead 64-63 with 2:45 left. A three-pointer by Weatherford and two free throws by Martin gave the Engineers a four-point lead at 69-65.
Chris Owens answered with a three-pointer to bring Transylvania to within 69-68 at the 1:00 mark. Gerken scored again with 26 seconds left to set the stage for the final plays of regulation.
Rose-Hulman improved to 20-8 on the season and has recorded its first 20-win campaign since 1999 and the fourth in school history. Transylvania stands 23-4 and is likely to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament when the brackets are released on Monday. The Pioneers are ranked No. 16 nationally.