HANOVER, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology rallied from a 28-point first half deficit to close within single digits in the second half, but Hanover College held off the charge to earn a 60-54 men's basketball victory on Saturday.
Hanover built a 38-10 lead with two minutes left in the first half with a combination of hot shooting and strong defense. Rose-Hulman closed to within 39-17 at the half, then opened the second half on a 16-4 run to close within 43-33 on a layup by junior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) with 12:51 left.
The Engineers trimmed the margin to nine points at 50-41 on a score by junior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) with 7:36 left, and closed to within eight points at 52-44 on a conventional three-point play by sophomore Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) with 6:31 remaining.
Hanover held the Engineers without a point for the next three minutes, before a three-pointer by junior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) brought Rose-Hulman within 57-46 with 2:59 left.
Senior Blake Knotts (Louisville, Ky./Christian) buried a three-pointer to make the score 60-50, and senior Jason Haslag (Linn, Mo./Helias Interparrish) added another score with 1:10 left to bring the Engineers within 60-52.
The Engineers forced a Hanover turnover in the final minute, and sophomore Jake Dodd (St. Peters, Mo./Missouri-St. Louis) scored with 12 seconds left to bring the margin to 60-54. Following a missed free throw by Drake Hendricks, Rose-Hulman had a chance to close within three points in the final seconds before a three-point shot fell off the mark.
Strickland paced Rose-Hulman with 13 points, while Knotts scored 10 points with seven rebounds. Weatherford pitched in with nine points, Balsbaugh scored eight and Haslag had seven for the balanced attack.
Trent Crabtree came off the bench for a team-high 11 points for Hanover. Mike Case also reached double figures with 10 points for the Panthers.
Hanover improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, while Rose-Hulman stands 8-2 overall and is 3-1 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers close the 2011 calendar year portion of the schedule at DePauw University on Monday night.