CINCINNATI, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology recorded the first 12-1 start in over 100 seasons of men's basketball with a 52-36 victory at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday.
The Fightin' Engineers also recorded the fourth 10-game winning streak in program history with the win. The current winning streak ranks behind only a 21-game winning streak in 1977-78 and a 12-game streak in 1998-99 in the men's basketball record book.
Rose-Hulman maintained a one-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings at 6-0 in league play. Transylvania stands 5-1, with Mount St. Joseph and Hanover at 4-2 in conference games.
The Fightin' Engineers relied on a familiar trend of balanced scoring and strong defense in the victory. Junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) and senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) led the offensive effort with 11 points each.
Junior James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) and senior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga.) provided balance to the attack with eight points each.
Defensively, Rose-Hulman also held an opponent to under 45 points in a game for the seventh time this season and continues to lead NCAA Division III in scoring defense at 47.2 points allowed per game.
The strong Fightin' Engineer defense was on display early, as Rose-Hulman built a 14-2 lead ten minutes into the first half. Gissentanner capped the early run with a three-pointer and a layup.
The lead reached 23-6 with 4:43 left in the first half after consecutive baskets by Strickland and senior Brenton Balsbaugh (Arcanum, Ohio/Greenville). Mount St. Joseph trimmed the margin to 27-16 after a three-pointer by Joel Scudder in the final minute of the half, before junior Jordy Martin (New Albany) buried a three-pointer of his own in the final seconds to give Rose-Hulman a 30-16 lead at the break.
In the second half, Mount St. Joseph trimmed the deficit to 12 points at 34-22 at the 15:46 mark, but Rose-Hulman answered with seven straight points to push the lead to 41-22 with 13:06 left. Strickland hit a three-pointer and two free throws, with Weatherford adding two free throws of his own in the rally.
Rose-Hulman controlled the action the rest of the way, maintaining a double-figure lead throughout the final 10 minutes to secure the win. Weatherford scored five straight points late in the final four minutes turn a 47-32 lead into a 52-32 edge.
Rose-Hulman improved to 12-1 on the season and 6-0 in league play, while Mount St. Joseph dropped to 5-8 and 4-2 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers host Anderson University on Wednesday at 7:30 at Hulbert Arena.
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