TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology shot 54% from the field and junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) scored a season-high 26 points to lead the Fightin' Engineers past Defiance 63-52 in men's basketball action on Saturday.
Senior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) provided support with 15 points and nine rebounds on 6-10 from the field.
Senior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) added eight points and 10 rebounds against his hometown team. Senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) added six points and a team-high five assists.
With the victory, Rose-Hulman improved to 5-1 on the season and earned a win in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.
Logan Wolfrum led three Defiance players in double figures with 16 points. Mason Roth and Ryan Hicks added 11 points each.
The Fightin' Engineers shot 55% from the field in the first half, including 4-7 from three-point range, to take a 34-27 lead into the intermission. The tightly contested first half featured six ties and five lead changes.
Defiance closed to within four points at 36-32 on a three-pointer by Roth at the 16:28 mark. The lead stayed at four points at 41-37 after another trey by Wolfrum with 13:02 left.
Rose-Hulman relied on an 11-5 run over the next eight minutes to push its lead to 52-42 with 5:13 left on a layup by Weatherford. The lead reached a game-high 12 points at 57-45 on a three-pointer by Strickland at the 3:52 mark.
Defiance closed to within seven points at 59-52, before a layup and two free throws by Strickland provided the final margin of victory.
Defiance stands 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Manchester University on Wednesday.