ATLANTA, GA. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology relied on a balanced scoring attack and a career-high scoring performance from sophomore James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) to top Millsaps 69-60 in the men's basketball season opener on Friday night at Oglethorpe University.
Pillischafske buried seven three-pointers in a career-high 23-point performance to lead a balanced scoring attack that featured three Fightin' Engineers in double figures. He finished 7-9 from three-point range in the effort.
Sophomore Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) added 13 points, and junior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) contributed 12 points. Sophomore Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) also pitched in with nine points.
Taylor Meades led the Millsaps offense with 18 points. The Fightin' Engineers relied on 46% shooting, eight three-pointers and a 25-37 effort on the free throw line to capture the win.
Rose-Hulman turned an 11-9 deficit into an 18-11 lead with a 9-2 spurt midway through the first half. Sophomore Jake Dodd (St. Peters, Mo./Missouri-St. Louis) capped the spurt with a transition layup. The lead later reached nine at 23-14 on another Dodd score.
Strickland scored on a fastbreak layup with 6:55 left in the first half to push Rose-Hulman's lead into double figures for the first time at 33-22. The lead reached as high as 16 points in the opening half on a free throw by Weatherford in the final two minutes.
In the second half, Rose-Hulman again pushed the lead to 16 points at 48-32 on a score by Strickland in the opening minute. Millsaps trimmed the margin to seven points with a 9-0 run, before a Pillischafske trey stopped the spurt at the 14:14 mark.
Millsaps trimmed the deficit to nine points once again at 54-45, but the balanced Rose-Hulman attack proved too much for the Majors. The Fightin' Engineers built the lead to 14 points on two occasions and kept a double digit lead until the final two minutes, when they relied on three key defensive stops to withstand a late charge.
Rose-Hulman stands 1-0 on the season and returns to action on Saturday night against weekend host Oglethorpe University at 7 p.m. Millsaps stands 1-1.