LEXINGTON, KY. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology relied on a fast start to the second half to top Defiance College 76-67 in the first round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday night.
Junior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) scored a career-high 24 points on 7-13 from the field and 6-6 from the line to lead the Rose-Hulman offense.
Sophomore Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) added 18 points on 8-10 from the field. Junior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) also reached double figures with 16 points.
Logan Wolfrum led the Defiance offense with his third 20-point game of the season against Rose-Hulman with 21 points. Anthony Brown and Kyle Tietje added 11 points each.
The Fightin' Engineers shot 60% from the field for the first time since a 2010 victory over DePauw University. Rose-Hulman led by five points at 35-30 early in the second half, before enjoying a 12-3 run to increase the lead to 47-33 midway through the half.
Defiance rallied to within four points at 71-67, before Gissentanner buried a three-pointer at the 1:06 mark to increase the edge to 74-67 and secure the Rose-Hulman victory.
Rose-Hulman improved to 18-8 overall and advances to Saturday's HCAC Tournament Semifinal Round against Hanover College on Saturday at 5 p.m. Defiance closed the season at 13-13 overall.