TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology improved to 7-1 on the men's basketball season with a 66-55 victory over Bluffton University on Saturday at Hulbert Arena.
The Fightin' Engineers improved to 3-0 in HCAC play and are tied for first place in the league standings with Transylvania University. The team's 7-1 start matches the best start to a season since the 1992-93 campaign.
Junior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) paced four players in double figures with 20 points, four steals and three assists.
Sophomore James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) added his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) and sophomore Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) also reached double figures with 12 points each. Gerken had seven rebounds, with Strickland contributing five.
Josh Fisher led three Bluffton players in double figures with 16 points. Nate Heckelman contributed 11 points, with Mychal Hill adding 10.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 9-4 lead on a three-pointer by Pillischafske at the 14:28 mark, before Bluffton rallied to force four first half ties. The Beavers later gained a 27-23 and relied on a three-pointer by Hill at the first half buzzer to hold a 30-27 edge at halftime.
In the second half, Pillischafske put the Engineers ahead for good at 34-33 on a three-pointer at the 16:13 mark. The lead reached five on a Weatherford layup with 14:07 left.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Weatherford and Pillischafske and another Weatherford score helped Rose-Hulman build a 51-42 edge at the 10:37 mark. Bluffton battled back to within 55-53 on a Heckelman score at the 3:58 mark.
Rose-Hulman stepped up the defensive effort by allowing just two points down the stretch, and a key Gerken three-pointer took a 58-55 lead and stretched it to 61-55 at the 1:35 mark.
Rose-Hulman stands 7-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, while Bluffton dropped to 5-3 and 1-2 in league contests. Rose-Hulman hosts Eureka College in non-conference action on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.